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.
It was a cold and stormy Tuesday night. A customer noticed the 20-litre bucket I used to collect plates from tables and asked if we could fill it with custard, top it with four kilos of demerara sugar and create a monstrous crème brûlée.
“Hungry?” I asked him dryly.
“No more than usual. Why?” he replied, un-dryly.
I realised he wasn’t joking and after a a moment of flustered confusion passed I realised that we would need to melt the sugar.
I went into the cellar to look for the propane torch we sometimes used to keep at bay the warthogs that accumulated around the restaurant’s perimeter after midnight.
There I found the manager wearing only a lab coat and attempting to animate by electrification a woman made of ill-shapen doughnuts, lamb shanks, two floating island desserts, two raspberries, two fried eggs, some parsnips and a watermelon.
I tried to tiptoe out but he saw me and told me I should stay and watch as he brought to life these leftovers that would become his wife.
“The eggs are her areolae!” he slurred as if this was the answer to the question foremost in my mind.
He then took a swig from a bottle of creme de menthe, yelled “THIS IS MY BIRTHRIGHT!” and pulled a giant lever.
When I woke in hospital the next day I was told the explosion caramelised the sugar on the gargantuan brulée upstairs to absolute perfection.
The moral? There isn’t one.
But, let’s be honest, if your workday aspirations aren’t Frankensteinian, you’re not really serious about bringing what you’re doing to life, are you?
An edited version of this article first appeared in the MyCareer section of The Age and Sydney Morning Herald.
You can read the column – Benign to Five – in those papers every Saturday, and if you miss it, you can look it up online in the Workplace section of The Age, the Sydney Morning Herald, The Canberra Times, WAToday and Brisbane Times. (I now wankishly call myself a “syndicated columnist” on my CV.)