Happy 10th anniversary, SHIFT Communications! This April, in honor of SHIFT’s journey from small start-up to well-respected bi-coastal integrated communications agency, we will be featuring weekly posts from SHIFT staff members describing the experience and challenges along the way. Today we feature Mike Fearon, an Account Manager in our Boston office.
Flashback to February 2008. Fail Whales were dominating Twitter. I owned a BlackBerry. And the world was two years away from the Chatroulette craze. Beyond wielding a “querty” key smartphone, I was a recent Master’s degree recipient looking to get a foot into the PR door. Despite my spirited efforts, it seemed that I would be left out in the cold New England winter. As luck would have it, a friend was able to secure my job search’s first and only interview – with SHIFT Communications.
During my interview, I was asked how I would help grow my prospective team. I goofily responded with, “I’m like Miracle Grow” (full disclosure – I hate yard work). It was a ridiculous answer to be sure. However, it was reflective of my personality and love for lame humor. When I eventually got the call, I knew SHIFT would not only accept my personality, but help connect it with my new profession.
Five years later, the growth question continues to resonate. I’ve grown by leaps and bounds professionally. More importantly, SHIFT has allowed me to grow personally. The no-brainer answer to my success since 2008 is the people around me – from the greenest intern to the corner office. After hearing anecdotes from colleagues who cut their teeth at other firms, I fully appreciate that SHIFT culture is more than just part of a ballsy mission statement.
From day one it’s been clear that ME culture has no place in SHIFT’s walls. Superiority complexes quickly wither; petty competition and oneupsmanship is non-existent. It’s understood that every hit we land, every business pitch we win is credited to the relationships created on our teams. I’m not just motivated for personal gain; I’m motivated because I want to do what’s best for the friends at my side – and I know they feel the same.
Do we always win? No – have you seen our softball team’s record? But when an obstacle is in our way, we work together, dust ourselves off and get to the next victory (again, except for softball – there we just work to get our next beer). SHIFT’s focus on growing teammates beyond co-workers and into friends nurtures our ability to overcome losses. I can honestly say that not one day has gone by at SHIFT when I didn’t have at least one laugh, even under pressure of a launch or the torture accompanying a missed placement. If there’s one thing you take away from this post, it’s that taking five minutes to make someone else or yourself smile brightens the darkest of days. Only a special atmosphere can instill that line of thinking and make it a reality day in and day out.
A friend once told me if work were fun, it would have a different name. Work is a job. Work is a living. Work is a paycheck. In my five years, I’ve grown to realize that SHIFT is more than work – it’s family.