Starting Up at our Startup

“I’m so sorry!” Doug Gorrie explained. “I didn’t mean to get you this busy so soon, but we’ve got a client urgently requesting an updated version of the ads we sent them last week. They want to launch it this afternoon. Do you think you can give me a few concepts?” 

It was a Monday morning in July, what happened to be my first day on the job as a Designer at Search + Gather. While Doug apologized for giving me work the moment I walked in, I was ecstatic to be trusted with client work so early on. This moment, for me, was long overdue. Having graduated from college a year ago, I had been longing for the day I’d get hired to do design work, and that day had finally arrived. It wasn’t long before I finished concepts, delivered them to the client, and moved on to the next task. Within 24 hours of walking into our office, I had ads that I made live, being viewed thousands of times on social media. This was what I had been waiting for, a chance to have my work viewed by actual users – and it felt amazing!

I quietly celebrated these milestones with everyone else in the office, but there wasn’t a moment to stop – projects kept coming in, and I was forced to learn and cater to client needs on short timelines. The milestones kept coming! Quickly, I launched even more content, including ads on different platforms and landing pages. After a few rounds of iterations, the pages I was delivering started getting higher conversion rates than their predecessors. First milestone was launching, second milestone was refining the products until they were better than what came before them.

Fast forward to present day, I’m eleven weeks in to the position and managing deliverables for many clients at once. I’ve been directly communicating with some clients, getting feedback on creatives, and doing what I can to ensure clients are satisfied. I’ve been given even more responsibility, with the daunting task of determining the form of our company’s new brand identity.

Without a doubt, this has been the most unique and rewarding work experience I’ve had to date, and it differs from anything I’ve been a part of in so many ways. First, and most importantly, my opinion matters in this work environment. I’ve long been used to working retail jobs, where it almost felt like a contest trying to get anyone high up enough to notice me if I had an idea to pitch, with more hurdles in place if I wanted to see something implemented. At S+G though, I’ve had a voice from day one. I’m able to contribute to company decisions, speak about any ideas I may have for improvement of the company at any moment, and know that my opinion is valued by this team no matter what the situation is. It’s a level of power I enjoy, and it makes me feel like a valued member of the company – even from the first day.

With this more powerful voice I’ve been given, I’ve also been granted more responsibility and ownership than I have in any previous position, resulting in me being even more invested in our clients’ and our own success. The level of motivation and hard work that I’m surrounded by on a daily basis in this office is enough that I know I want this company, and all of our clients, to be successful. This is what motivates me to come in to the office every day and deliver the best work I possibly can – because I know directly who is responsible for the benefits (or consequences) of me not delivering.

While everyone is focused on working hard, the environment is relaxed and casual in ways that help to alleviate as much stress as possible as well. We regularly enjoy team lunches, as well as outings outside of the office. Recently, we celebrated a successful month by going out to dinner as a team, a great way to connect and bond without being in our normal space. These are regular occurrences, and are much appreciated, making us feel as comfortable as possible, but not interfering with our ability to produce great results.

All of these factors make up the incredible company that is Search + Gather. Even though I’ve only been here for a few weeks, I can’t wait to see what the future of this company entails – there are endless opportunities for growth and exciting possibilities of what the company may one day look like. 

If I work hard enough, I hope to see the day where another enthusiastic designer walks in to the office, and I get to apologize profusely about getting them started on client work from the moment they walk in. With the way things have been going and the optimism of the rest of the team, it doesn’t seem far-fetched in the slightest.

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