365 Days: 5 Lessons
What. A. Year.
Last week marked 365 days at Media Cause for me. I’m a big fan of anniversaries (or really any excuse to cheers), and upon reflection of my first year on this job, I realized that I’ve learned far more than just the day-to-day of how to be the best copywriter and content strategist I can be. Here are my five biggest nuggets of wisdom:
1. You can love your job.
I didn’t think it was possible. I’ve had good jobs, I’ve enjoyed (almost) all of my past jobs, and I’ve had some pretty tough gigs as well. I think most people have. But there’s a difference between thinking a job is good because you don’t cry in the bathroom every day, and actually loving your job. Heard of the Sunday blues? That dreadful feeling that the weekend, aka living-your-best-life, is over and Monday is coming in, full steam ahead with cranky coworkers, bad coffee and terrible meetings. Those are real for most people–heck, they’ve been very real for me most of my career. Well, not to brag, but I get the Sunday excites. We get to come to work with people I genuinely enjoy, make a difference, and have a great f-ing time doing it. I’m very grateful that in my 30+ years on this earth, I’m wise* enough to realize this is good and I should appreciate it.
Note: If you’re at the “cry in the bathroom” stage of a job, may I offer some unsolicited thoughts? Update your resume, research causes or ideas you are passionate about to see if organizations in that space are hiring, network like crazy, reach out to a recruiter, hug a puppy, take a continuing education class. Do small things, every single day, to get yourself to a better place.
2. But you can still get a bit burnt out.
Of course, with a love affair this rich, you can also get burnt out. On more than one occasion, I would need to remind myself that I needed to set some boundaries. We are the opposite of encouraged to work late or on weekends. But when you enjoy the clients and the work, it’s hard. I like helping. I like to do things that I like to do (duh). But what makes me good at my job is the ability to take time away, refill that creative cup and come back refreshed.
And let’s be honest, there’s a bit of ego. It feels so good to help and see a meaningful difference. It’s hard to walk away (but walk, run, swim, hike, roll – whatever it is away regularly. It’s for the best).
3. Clear communications make all the difference.
Media Cause does a lot of great things for us as employees (go check out our “we’re hiring” page for the nitty-gritty benefits), but by far and away my favorite one is there is such clear, open communication. We formalize kickoffs, and have weekly check-ins with our project management team, Ryan and Kyle. Those dudes are some badasses that keep us on track. But beyond schedules, everyone has a level of mutual respect where we can operate to the best of our ability. We know who is doing what, when, and how. We also know when we can just do it ourselves because we’re given room to grow. By setting (and managing) clear expectations, we are allowed to do our best work– and we’re all happier when we’re able to shine.
4. Google Hangouts has a bingo card of things people have to say before you’re legally allowed to hang up.
With four offices across two time zones, we’re on hangouts a lot. I mean a lot, a lot. I’ve seen more of my coworkers’ houses than I have of some of my best friends’. And on all of these hangouts, I’m convinced there’s a small but mighty checklist of things you have to say before you’re allowed to end a call.
- Can you hear me?
- I’m going to share my screen….can you all see my screen?
- I’m sorry – you froze for a second.
- Hi (insert name of pet who has decided to join the call – likely Noodles, Blue or Tobe)!
- I’ll ping you that doc.
5. You can make a difference.
Yes, you. Get educated on the issues that are important to you and make a commitment to help those causes. Maybe it’s a political candidate you’re passionate about for 2020, or maybe you’re really into reducing food waste – it could even be that you just love dogs and want to start volunteering at a local animal shelter, or you have a renewed sense of purpose with advocating for your neighborhood park. People need to hear more from passionate, compassionate humans like you, so find a way to make your voice heard and your work count.
Of course, I’ve learned more than these five things in the last 365 days, but I can’t share my secrets of how to score free coffee at our co-working space or the most flattering angle for a video call. That’s for my year two recap. The first year has been a rollercoaster – from protecting whales to education around having a puppy, raising funds for cancer research to saving the trees. This job has taught me a lot, but more than anything, it’s that I can impact change day in and day out. The world might be a bit of a dumpster fire, but there are people and organizations who care and are fighting the good fight, and I’m here to help.
*When I read this in ten years and call myself “wise” I will lol, or whatever it is we do in 2029 to express the appreciation of a good joke.