“There are two great days in a person’s life – the day we are born and the day we discover why.”
I love this quote. It reminds us of what’s important in life and reading it frequently allows us to stay focused on the things that make us happy.
The other day someone asked me the question, “Why do you work at WCG?” and I had to think about it. It didn’t seem like it should be hard to answer, but when you put in 5 years, 6 months and 3 days (who’s counting?) at one agency you have to think about a lot of things. That’s 14,330 billable hours of my life. Might as well be an eternity compared to the average agency stint these days.
After pausing and taking measure of why I’ve worked at WCG for all this time, I came to realize that the three reasons why I pour my blood, sweat and sometimes tears into WCG are surprisingly the same three reasons why I joined WCG in the first place:
- Autonomy Has Its Perks: Coming off of a terrible holding company agency buyout before I came to WCG, I knew that I wanted to be part of an independent agency that had the ability to be nimble and invest in technologies and people that could give the business a competitive advantage. And even though we’ve grown from 90 folks in 2009 to now over 400 people, the firm’s leadership has continued to embrace this philosophy. This autonomy gives the agency more of a start-up feel and allows you to focus on what actually matters: doing great work for your clients rather than having to endure the financial-driven holding company mentality that’s the equivalent to nails on a chalkboard for most of us.
- Brilliant, Strategic People: After working over seven years in healthcare integrated agencies, I came into WCG thinking that I had this whole integrated communications thing down. It didn’t take any longer than the second interview for me to realize that I was full of it. Over the course of the next four hours it became very apparent that I had a lot to learn from the folks at WCG. In truth, I remember being really intimidated by all of the experienced professionals I was meeting with, many of whom are here to this day. I thought back then that I could really learn something from my future colleagues at WCG. And now five years later, I’m still learning from them every day.
- “Make it Happen.” You can’t miss the signs around the office. I remember seeing it on day number one. It’s one of many “Jimisms” that I got used to hearing over the years. The reason why I love this one is the ambiguity behind it. Make what happen? It’s a pithy phrase that gets to the root of the culture at WCG. It showcases the entrepreneurial spirit that exists at WCG and gives the employee the permission to be in charge of their own knowledge, their accounts and their career. No one is going to do it for you. You have to make it happen. Since day one I interpreted this ambiguity as opportunity and over the last five years I’ve grown more than I could have possibly imagined. What’s even more exciting? Thinking about where I’ll be 5 years from now.
Mind you, this doesn’t mean that WCG is an easy place to work. It’s highly matrixed. Uncertainty is inescapable and you have to have 100% trust in your colleagues’ abilities. Shifting priorities and structures are common. But give me a straight-forward, task-based work environment, and then I’ll ask you to show me the door.
I may be working at the “why” in the quote above, but at least I got my “why” for WCG all figured out now. What’s yours?