The Haught guide to learning fast

The kodiak bear, native to Alaska, can smell a mound of discarded roast pork, curdled custard and overcooked carrots in the Southern Hemisphere

Newcomers to Benign to Five, a column which I occasionally transpose into blog form for your delectation, may not be aware that, for a short period in the 1990s, I worked at the all-you-can-inhale restaurant, Smorgy’s (Burwood). Patrons entered through a fibreglass volcano and every three to five months thick black smoke spewed from its roof; these two facts were entirely unrelated.

In my 35-day period of employment at this venerable house of engorgement, I learnt almost everything I’ve ever needed to know in my professional career.

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The Haught guide to bringing stuff to life

Image: Insomnia Cured Here, flickr

Image: Insomnia Cured Here, flickr

If you want career success in 2016, it’s not good enough to “implement”, “generate” or “create”; you need to “bring to life” whatever it is you work on daily.

You can bring to life a brave concept or ambitious plan. You can bring to life a detailed design or complex first draft. You can also bring to life an annual report or financial statement.

Bringing stuff to life is such a versatile and inclusive exercise.

While working at Smorgy’s Burwood (yes, the one with the volcano – thanks for asking) I had a manager who was years ahead of his time, so I’m well-versed in the discipline of life-bringing. Let me regale you.… Read the rest

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“There are no stupid questions” is a lie

Refused to break wind question

If you’re (bizarrely) thinking about taking career advice from a source outside Benign to Five, I have some advice for you: beware of pleasant people. Having been a pleasant person once – before I became a vicious curmudgeon and a hateful bigot, that is – I know pleasant people, and pleasant people say things like “it was meant to be” and “there are no stupid questions”.

Now I don’t go in for this “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” malarkey. But I know when I hear nonsense, and those two particular assertions, my dear Haughtologists, are just that. In fact, I would go a step further and say they are outright lies. In fact, I would go a step further again and say it in capitals: THEY ARE OUTRIGHT LIES.

(Now I feel as if I might have gone too far. I wish I knew how to delete stuff on this thing.)

“It was meant to be” implies that everything is predetermined, including the time I walked into the storeroom at Burwood Smorgy’s and found the manager wearing only a felt sock puppet and dancing a passionate samba with a 45 kilogram bag of desiree potatoes. If this was written into fate at the beginning of time, then the Predeterminer must have one hell of an imagination, making banal cruelties like famine and brain cancer outrageously mean-spirited and the whole idea of predetermination ludicrous.… Read the rest

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The Haught guide to doing what you wanna do

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Dream on

A group of sage philosophers once offered this advice to the world: “Do what you wanna do. Be what you wanna be. Yeah. Ooo.”

While I was working as a scraper of putrescence at the Burwood Smorgy’s (while doubling as their Chief Operating Officer), these words had the ring of “Let them eat cake” about it. As I was de-mounding the plates of porcine humans, I saw no prospect of becoming the Universe-famous digital vigilante and high-profile columnist I so longed to be. I saw no prospect of anything, really.

Read the rest
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