Almost four years ago, I wrote a blog post called “Why I work at Leff Communications,” about the company’s first bowling outing. Not quite a year into the job, I couldn’t believe I’d found this team of colleagues, people with similar values to me—work hard, play pranks, poke fun, binge club soda, embrace any reason to celebrate (or have a drink). You know, the most important things.
Now I’m approaching my five-year anniversary at the firm, and we’ve been through so much together. I’ve had a baby and been promoted twice. I’ve celebrated the career milestones of my colleagues. The company moved offices and has tripled in size. And now, we’re navigating a pandemic.
At Leff, we clocked some of our busiest months on record as our clients rapidly published on the pandemic’s impact and responses to it. And we’re incredibly grateful that, at the same time so many workers and companies around the globe have struggled, our work has steadily (even if sometimes relentlessly) continued.
When I think back to the start of lockdowns, I think of long, exhausting days of juggling countless client and toddler requests. I remember wondering if things would ever slow down, the stress and frenzy ever abate. But while I certainly had some bad days, I never doubted that our leaders appreciated (and would repay) everyone’s efforts—and that they were invested in our overall and individual well-being.
Below are a few more reasons I’m still thrilled to be a part of this team.
A respect for unique talents and personalities: It’s generally understood among our team members that our different perspectives and skills sets are what make us great and set us apart from independent freelancers. Our leaders strive to match each person’s work to their individual strengths and goals—to the benefit of our team and clients alike.
Opportunities to try new things and take on new responsibilities: Learning—about different industries or innovations in a business area—is fundamental to editing thought leadership. But working at Leff involves all sorts of other ways to grow, by joining or leading new committees, owning new areas of growth for the company, or participating in philanthropic causes. All of this helps keep the job interesting, especially for anyone who feels shackled by rigid schedules and repetition (raises hand).
A belief that good work should be rewarded: Leadership is explicit about this: when we go above and beyond, we will be recognized and compensated. Now, do all the extra little perks of the job increase my enjoyment? Absolutely. Would I stick around if the team bought me lunch on Fridays and stocked the office with booze—but didn’t pay me fairly? If we’re talking really good whiskey, maybe…but probably not.
Recognition that family is a priority: When day cares opened back up in Illinois in late May, my husband and I decided not to send our daughter back. We just weren’t, and still aren’t, comfortable with the risks of expanding our web of exposure. This means that I have continued to work somewhat odd hours and share childcare with my husband. I’m immensely grateful that I don’t have to choose between my family’s safety and my job. But even beyond the pandemic, never once have I felt that having June has affected my career trajectory, nor that I need to apologize for cutting out to take her (or even my dog) to a checkup in the middle of the day.
Kickass colleagues: Not much advice here. Just gotta say, if you’re spending eight-plus hours a day in the office—or half your day in video meetings—with a group of people, it sure does help if they’re cool. I feel very lucky that my coworkers are smart, clever, funny people who like to have a good time, respect one other, and send all the best animal memes.
Leaders examining your company’s culture—take note.