Like any good millennial, I had dreams of working for ‘The Office’. You know, Dunder Mifflin led by the one and only Michael Scott. But probably not for the reasons you’re thinking.
Sure, it would be fun to work somewhere where office pranks are a thing. Where the boss is hilarious and always causing a ruckus. Somewhere that honors employees with silly made up awards at a fine establishment like Chili’s and spends enormous amounts of time on non-sense.
But what honestly attracted me to the idea of their office environment was the camaraderie that they have. They give each other a hard time, but rally around each other when it counts. They step in for each other when the job needs to get done. They become each other’s closest friends and biggest supporters. And for the most part, they seemed to be genuinely happy at work. Those are the things that inspired me to find an office environment.
I’ve taken a rather mixed up path to end up at Bouchard Insurance. I earned a degree in Hotel Management and started my career with Marriott, transitioned to a role with a vision company doing marketing and events, moved into a program coordinator role for a non-profit, and took a brief detour in early education. It wasn’t a straight line that led me here, but those experiences gave me a perspective I don’t think I would have otherwise had.
Walking around the Bouchard office my first week I was most impressed by the nameplates on people’s workspaces (which include our anniversary dates)… Serving Since 1979, 1986, 1999. I’ve been in the professional world for a little over a decade and have had 3 major career changes with 5 different companies in that time. What in the world is it like to work somewhere for 40 years?
In a day and age of “coolest office” awards, ping pong tables, and beer on tap in the break room, I think it’s easy to get lost in what we’re really looking for in a career. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I’d much rather have co-workers I can count on than a ping pong table. I’d rather have a clear career path with the opportunity for growth than beer on tap. And I would certainly rather have a manager who says “I trust you to do what’s right” than a nap pod.
Doug Bishop, our CEO, sits in a cubicle with my team. He calls it The Quad. There are open offices in our building, but he declined to have one in favor of his cube. I’ve never worked for someone more approachable than Doug. I’m a bit of an outside the box kind of person (okay, maybe more than a bit), and because of that I often bring him out-of-the-box ideas. Like having a penguin at our client educational seminar for a brain break, confetti any chance we get, or renaming my department to “The Department of Happiness” (Golden Ticket ideas if you will). While it may earn me some heckling at company meetings, he supports my unconventional ideas. More importantly, he trusts me and my dedication to the company. He gives me a platform to be the best I can be, and then gets out of the way and lets me do it. He’s told me he would since the day I was hired, and he’s never waivered from that commitment.
Our company culture is ingrained in that commitment. There are no “culture keepers” and we’re certainly not trying to “maintain” our culture in the face of the huge change we’re going through. We recognize that our culture is a fluid thing. It develops as we develop. It’s not to be held or kept. It’s growing as the organization grows.
So while a nap pod sounds good in theory, I’m much more excited to work for an organization that cares about me as a person. That supports having dynamic thinkers. A company that recognizes that without change we’re not advancing. And understands that fun at work doesn’t always look like “fun”. It sometimes looks like a normal office environment with co-workers we can count on; and the occasional Pretzel Day for good measure.
These are the people I go to when I’m having a tough day. These are the people I celebrate life events with. And these are the people who have finally made me understand why people can and would work somewhere for 40 years.
It doesn’t need to be overcomplicated or expensive. Happiness at work is just that, happiness.
About the Author
Tori McGee is the Brand Manager for Bouchard Insurance. Tori's team is responsible for the presentation of the agency in the communities we serve through digital marketing, community partnerships, graphic design, and events. | Connect on LinkedIn