Many of us spend more time with our co-workers during the week than we do with our own families. Sometimes, we have more conversations with them than we do with our own significant other. As co-workers, we’re committed to the same mission, vision and goals. We advise each other, listen to each other’s advice, plan, brainstorm and share the successes and failures of our work. This is why it’s so important to enjoy the people surrounding you in your professional life.
Helping Each Other Scale Learning Curves
When I started with CKR three years ago, I had very little marketing and advertising experience. Coming from a nonprofit management background — and a Netflix binge of Mad Men — I decided to make the leap to corporate (or “the dark side” as my nonprofit friends and I called it). I couldn’t even define PPC when I first started in this industry; I didn’t know what a bleed was. But my co-workers were there for me, patiently explaining the industry, mentoring and guiding me over hurdles.
That is what a good team does, we lift each other up.
Pushing One Another to Excellence
I’ll never forget when Amiksha Patel lightly chastised me, “A tri-fold brochure, Krystal? That’s so boring. I know the client asked for it, but you can do better. Think creatively.” Her challenge was just what I needed to create a fun, out-of-the-box collateral piece of which I’m still proud to this day. Most recently, my co-worker Nica Lorber challenged my self-deprecating talk. “I’d like to get out of this habit at our company,” she said, “You’re saying things like, ‘I’m not a web designer…’ Krystal, what do you think we’re doing right now — web design?”
A good team will consistently push each other to be better, and a great team will rise to the challenge.
Supporting Each Other Through the Hard Times — Both Professionally and Personally
I’m going to get a little personal in this one, and if you know me, you know that I don’t mind getting a little personal with my co-workers — it reminds us that we’re real people with real people problems. Three years ago, my start date at CKR was postponed due to the death of my beloved grandfather. A year later, my younger cousin’s husband tragically passed away in an accident six months after I stood beside them at their wedding. And last August, probably the hardest of all, my stepfather unexpectedly passed away while I was home visiting my family. The past few years have been some of the hardest years of my life, but through it all, my co-workers have been one of my greatest sources of support. They’ve cared for me, allowed me to cry to them, given me advice from first-hand experience and have become like family to me. As a company, we’ve also experienced illness, cancer treatments, death, weddings, births of children, graduations and all the ups and downs of life. We take our lead in caring for one another from our CEO, Curtis Rogers, who sets the tone of our work family.
Professionally, we all have those times when the workload is overwhelming, when we’re so frustrated we rush home to scour job boards in hopes of finding greener pastures. But together we’ve pulled each other back in the folds, readjusting workloads and lending support until the person has recovered. And if that doesn’t work, we support whatever decision is made. We’re still friends with previous employees, and in fact have had many boomerangs when they realize how green our grass actually is.
A good team will recognize top talent and support their growth, development and happiness.
Having Mutual Respect, Admiration and Pride in One Another
I can honestly say that I go to work with some of the most intelligent, passionate and talented people in this niche industry. We recently started a weekly video conference called Sharing Fridays in which all of us, from all departments, get together and share things pertaining to our work — anything — newest industry trends, a cool project we’re working on, best practices, an interesting article. I love listening to my team enthusiastically describe their work. I always knew my co-workers were impressive, but it’s been so eye opening to have it laid out in the open every week.
A good team respects each other, admires each other’s success (and ability to learn from failure) and is proud to play a role in the mission.
The Right Culture Fit
Now, if you made it this far reading my little letter and are thinking, “Oh god, that sounds annoying, so touchy feely, blah blah blah”, well then, working at our agency probably isn’t for you. And that’s fine. When I first started, Michelle Ferreira, said to me, “Choosing the right career is one of the most important decisions a person will make in life. Almost as important as finding the right partner, or having a family — the right fit is key. We help companies effectively communicate their company culture, and their employer brand. We do this so that even before someone applies, they have a clear understanding of what it’s like to work there. This helps the prospective candidate, and the employer, to have a better match.” Michelle was responding to my question: In your own words, can you tell me what CKR does? Because she’s such a smart cookie, I’m sure she knew that she was also describing her view on hiring me.
A good team should be effective in communicating their employer brand to ensure the right culture fit.
Wrap it up Already
So to all of you — my dear co-workers, my second family — thank you. Thank you for being you. Thank you for the past three years. Cheers to many more.