Murphy’s Law: “Here’s looking at you, kid.”

When I was a trainee draftsperson working for a company called Irwin Johnston & Partners (now Irwinconsult) I was working late one evening printing some drawings for a tender submission. I had organised dinner with my folks and they met me at the office to head into town for dinner. As I wasn’t quite finished printing the drawings I invited them up to the 2nd floor of the office

to wait for me whilst I finished. Back then our offices were in an old building on Eastern Road, South Melbourne and was open plan with director offices at the front and down one side. The print room was at the rear so I was surprised that anyone at the front of the building, let alone sitting in their office could have noticed my parents were standing in the printing area, waiting.

As I packed up and began to leave the building at about 7pm, one of my directors, who was one of only two people left in the office at that time of night, called out my name. We all stopped and turned around as the director Rennie Darmanin came towards us. He introduced himself to my parents with a smile and a hand shake, and said “I hope you don’t mind but I thought I’d come over to introduce myself to and to let you know how well Tom is doing. He works hard and is very dedicated to his career.” That evening I was very pleased with Rennie’s words and the proud smiles he put on my parents’ faces but could not have realised the impact this would have on my career to this day.

At that time I was a young 19 years old just doing what I believed was my job. If there’s work to do you do it. As I grew as a professional, I had my ups and downs, I had moments where I didn’t work as hard as I could have, yet when I wanted to achieve a goal it was moments like that night in the office as a young bloke which inspired me to work hard to achieve my goals. I sometimes wonder if Rennie realised the impact his words might have on someone, for years to come. I recall mentioning it to him 10 years later and I’m not sure he even remembered the moment nor his words at the time, which tells me it was something he did regularly.

For me this is a key to inspiring the best in people. As a young recruiter I cherished the times where my director at Bayside, Rob Blanche would come to my desk and spend a few moments showing interest in my day. It was not something he did often but once every couple of months he’d sit at my desk and chat about my achievements and any current activity I had. These moments are priceless if we want to inspire greatness or motivate those around us. Criticism or negative feedback is delivered without a second thought yet positive encouragement goes unsaid all too often in our working lives.

Today we are all occupied by someone or something no matter where we turn. We always have something to do, on our PC on our phone or iPad so it can be hard to make the time to stop what we are doing to make a point of showing interest in those around us, those we are managing, in order to give them a lift. Let’s try it as you never know, those kind words or words of encouragement could prove to be very powerful in that person’s life.

“Here’s looking at you, kid.” 
Rick Blaine/Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca (1942)

About the Author


Tom Murphy is a recruitment leader & founder of Aptus Personnel (Aus) and Aptus Recruitment (UK). After 10 years in consulting engineering and 11 years in recruitment Tom aims to be an employer of choice for recruiters.

Tom aspires to provide a working environment where people can be as successful as possible. Tom believes by being the best he can be as an employer, other employers and employees will want to make Aptus their recruitment partner.