I’ve spent most of my adult life working jobs where the payoff is ephemeral. A concert that ends. A paper that is graded and forgotten. Students who graduate. Even my job at the Toy Factory is often that way, since most of what I do is in cyberspace. But sometimes your work becomes an object, a thing you can touch, can look at and smell.
My first toy showed up on my desk on Friday morning. The package arrived while nearly everyone who would care the most was out. I stared at it for a minute and did the first thing I could think of. I took a picture of the box. Then I opened it. I took a picture of the open box. And one of each of the parts of the toy. And one of the whole toy lined up on my desk. And then I emailed them to the other people who helped.
In the toy business, when this happens, everyone uses the same metaphor — “Congratulations on the birth of a new toy!” Toys take a long time to make. The bigger the toy, the longer it takes. This one took 10 years. It weighs a lot more than a newborn. And has many more parents. But sending out those newborn photos was just as sweet. And a lot less painful.
Our PR director sent over a bottle of wine and a corkscrew. We threw a small party to toast the new arrival. It was nice to share the moment with the others who worked on the project. And a nice end to a difficult week.