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A Recipe for Success

Authored by: Loree Jackson, Sr. Account Executive

Since I was a little girl, cooking has always been a hobby at which I’ve excelled. I don’t mean to brag, but I even had a Martha Stewart apron at age 13. However, despite my passion for cooking, baking was my downfall. Baking requires precision, methodical steps, and above all, patience. Recently I’ve decided to conquer the art of baking, and while doing so, I noticed parallels between the skills you need to perfect a pastry and necessary skills to grow within your career.

I started with a “simple” yellow sheet cake and a chocolate ganache. . . what could go wrong? I dove in head first, but my plan to follow the recipe quickly went out the window. Instead of a sheet cake, I decided to make a 3-layer cake, while also substituting some heavy cream in the ganache with a little half and half leftover in my fridge. This change and improvisation is also how many of my projects go. You have your brief, you kick things off, and then all of your variables start changing and the deadline is all of a sudden, tomorrow. When it comes to new clients or junior-level employees, sticking to a recipe can help prevent mistakes and ensure a streamlined process. Just like baking, the more experienced you are, the more you know when and where to diverge from the process. It all comes down to juggling work in the fast-paced agency environment and preventing anyone from getting burned.

Working on my yellow cake, the baking started to feel therapeutic, giving me time to reflect on the parallels between the baking process and my work style. The first being “pause for the cause.” I am very task oriented, making it easy for me to get tunnel vision and move at a million miles an hour to get the job done. Speed has its benefits, but taking just one moment to pause and think can reduce the amount of work in the end. The same goes for baking – slowing down and reading instructions thoroughly can prevent over salting or help you learn that sugar is considered a wet ingredient. . .not dry. When you slow down, new ideas can pop in your head, allowing for better solutions instead of quickly saying “No!” In the end, my first baking attempt was a hit and was devoured by my family and friends.

Just like agency work, baking requires you to adhere to a meticulous timeline, have a recipe (that you should actually follow), and there is always risk of failure or a huge and tasty reward. You might be in the beginning of your career, or just starting a new job, but if you can master these skills, you will be more efficient, and your team will appreciate you for it (cake helps too!). And that, my friend, is a certain recipe for success.