A group of WE employees in a meeting room smiling

3 Ways I Survived the 3-Year Itch

3/29/2022
— Erika Gonzalez, VP, Technology 

The secret to employee longevity? Growth, support and independence. 

Before I joined WE, my path looked very similar to many people in the comms industry, averaging about two years in my position. Part of it might be in our DNA, to always be curious about what’s next. Future vision is a job requirement. So, like many of my peers, I kept my resume meticulously up to date. I was always wondering what better position, what more exciting company, what more perfect match could be waiting for me on the horizon.

I was hardly a unique contributor to the turnover familiar to communications industry employers. We’ve read many recent articles about “the great resignation” and the mass exodus of professionals at companies around the world. As we enter into the third year of the pandemic, indicators point to this trend not slowing down but speeding up.

I want to share my secret with fellow comms professionals looking to buck this trend and secure their place to plant roots and grow: 3 reasons I survived the 3-year itch. I’m happy to report I’m nearing a decade at one agency where I’ve experienced incredible personal and professional growth. Here’s what kept me — and keeps me — thriving as I turn the corner on 10 years at WE.

WE Communications group photo at restuarant

 

Room for Growth

Ultimately the ability to evolve my career at the agency and take on new roles and challenges has been a primary driver to my continued satisfaction. I’m never stuck in one place but exploring different experiences so I can continue to strengthen my skills and abilities as a comms professional. WE encourages each of us to actively pursue continued learning and build new competencies. There’s no wall or limit to discovering new passions.

One of the things I appreciate about my clients is that I get to work with innovative brands and brilliant comms professionals who collaborate with us and push us. It continues to move me and my team to think of new and creative ways to tell stories. In turn, my craft is ever evolving to match evolving client businesses. To say I’m a stronger communicator a decade later is an understatement.

One of the lures to leave an organization is the notion that only in a new role can you reinvent yourself. What keeps people at WE is the ongoing opportunity to reinvent yourself while staying put. Employees who want to change roles but still stay at the company are supported and encouraged. That’s very different and extremely important to those of us who never want to plateau, whose ambition is for lifelong learning and growth.

As soon as you feel you know something at WE, it changes again. This is a place where being comfortable with being uncomfortable is an asset. Curiosity is rewarded and encouraged, if not mandated. Let’s be real: What’s happening in the marketplace is already old news. Our charge is to create what’s next.

WE Communications team members

 

Feeling Supported, Being Seen

My support network at WE is another key reason I’ve not scratched the job hop itch. Some weeks I talk to my teammates more than my family. At WE, there’s a culture of belonging that’s part of a fabric, and deeply meaningful to me and so many of us who call the agency home. We’re a tapestry of myriad cultures, identities and perspectives, and that’s something we celebrate. As storytellers our job is to connect with diverse audiences. The fact we reflect the world’s diversity makes our work stronger and, quite frankly, better.

From a cultural perspective, we value and expect diverse POVs. Our recommendations are regularly solicited. This is the foundation of the agency’s inclusivity efforts. We’re continuously asking, and being asked, what’s your take on an issue, what are your thoughts? How should we change course (or not) based on the changes happening in the world around us?

While independence is encouraged, sharks don’t do well here. If you’re only focused on yourself and your own agenda, then WE may not be a fit for you. We attract people invested in themselves AND create supportive environments, where everyone can be their best self and do their best work. That’s the beauty of showing up each day fully seen and respected.

And authenticity starts at the top. Our leadership team models the importance of forever being true to yourself as a person and a professional, that these are one in the same, recognizing and valuing the full human being at the core of performance. People are at the heart of everything we do, when connecting with one another, our clients and the audiences we want to reach, and this is not lip service. This priority has only amplified during the pandemic. Everyone is balancing new struggles and challenges, and instead of ignoring this, the priority to be real has increased exponentially. We’re all in this together, at the agency and with our client partners, and supporting one another in the journey is our top priority.

 

Independent Spirit

A day at WE is never boring. As one of the world’s largest independent communications firms, WE navigates toward client partners who respect our independence; they seek our autonomous thinking to create strategic and meaningful work together. And our independent spirit allows us to intentionally select the clients we want to work with who share our values and purpose: to use the gift of communications to move people to positive action. The net result? We have the privilege to create exciting and impactful work, to shape the future of communications versus monolithic, legacy thinking.

 

The Grass is Green Where You Water It

In a decade, I’ve worked on multiple client accounts, supported business development, collaborated with larger client teams as well as managed one-to-one relationships and even worked a stint in China. The reason I’ve had so many jobs at WE is my drive to always try something new. It’s integral to who I am as a human being, and WE gets that. Gratefully I’ve been able to be true to my passions while at WE. I’m not sure what the next 10 years hold, but I have confidence I’m going to continue to grow and learn along the way. That’s the difference between a vocation and a job. If you’re looking for meaningful work that allows you to continue to evolve, is there anything better?

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