I remember my first swimming lesson vividly. As I waddled nervously onto poolside and put my toes over the edge of the pool, my unsympathetic instructor yelled out,
‘Go on, jump in!’
I did, and I struggled ferociously for air. I thought that was it, there and then. All I could focus on was how to get above water long enough to breathe, and as my legs and arms howled into action and propelled me upwards, I started to tread water and gain control.
Starting a new job is the exact same. You’re thrown into it on day one: phone calls, writing assignments, HubSpot training and plenty more. As an intern at Articulate, there are no coffee runs. And as an employee, there is only one rule:
One team, one dream.
Here are a few ways we make it so.
We’re completely virtual. In fact, as I write this I’m sat in one of my favourite coffee shops in Holborn eating an almond croissant, coffee in hand.
‘Every good writer reads’, were the words left imprinted on my brain as Matthew, the big cheese, handed out our new Kindles.
That’s right. Not only do we receive a company Kindle, we have access to the company library. More than 400 glorious reads all ready and waiting in your back pocket. I’ve already delved into the likes of Graeme Greene and Hans Fallada.
We’re team players
Every month the company rents an office space in London and gets together for a day of workshopping, presentations and good vibes. There’s coffee, but you won’t be pouring it.
Come prepared with your thinking hat and ensure you speak up when you have something to say. There’s no judgement here, and shying away offers nothing to you or the team.
We’re damn happy
Articulate has a Chief Happiness Officer. Liz takes on the role of the company parent and makes sure everyone is happy at work and home.
Not only that, employees have access to a happiness account. Each month, Articulate set aside some money in your account to purchase things like office chairs and stationary. You can even buy some potted plants with it if you want!
‘That sounds amazing! Where do I sign?’
Hold your horses. This isn’t just a Sunday stroll to work off that roast. You’ve got to earn your place in this community.
Up for the challenge? Here’s how an average day looks for me. But before you explore, keep in mind that most days are in fact, extraordinary.
I’m awake at about six in the morning. I’ll stumble downstairs and make a huge pot of coffee, clamber into the shower and do my best to be at my desk between seven and eight. I’m normally tucking into my third cup of coffee at any given moment… you’ve been pre-warned.
Although I’m a morning person, I have what some writers (i.e. me) call morning depression. This is where I turn on sad music – like this Bon Iver song – and get my head down into some undisturbed writing.
I check my emails and sign into Slack, our virtual community message board. I respond to any correspondence from the day before and scroll through the various streams of conversation that colleagues have had. There’s usually a good meme in there that brings me out of my morning lull, like this one:
The morning usually consists of client and training calls. Recently, I’ve sat in on a persona interview for Articulate, an interview with someone at Microsoft and a brand review talk with the team at RedPixie. Theres a lot of note taking to be done, so finger stretches are essential.
I love siestas, not for the sleep though. Normally, I try and clear my head with some (much needed) exercise. Heck, I might even go for a dip at the pool.
I’ll cook up a healthy dish to see me through the afternoon, too. Poached eggs and avocado is always an option on the table.
Time to get editing. Yesterday I received a white paper from my account manager, Jess, and I need to peer-edit the document to make sure the copy is sound. This may have to wait though, there’s some field work to conduct first.
I’ve been invited to attend a Microsoft Security event at their offices in Paddington. Four hours and almost 5,000 words of note taking later, it’s time to head back home to at least make a start on this edit.
As a remote worker it’s important to compartmentalise my day, so I usually clock out at around 5 or 6pm and wind down into the evening or head out to catch up with friends over a needed beer (or three).
Let’s get real for a moment
As a ‘creative millennial’, I don’t ever expect to retire from the workforce. In fact, I have every intention of dying in front of my MacBook.
The average retirement age for my generation is currently 75-years-old. Because of this, things like money and company cars no longer motivate me. Instead, the work and resulting happiness the work provides me are my key motivators.
Articulate’s passion for work/life balance, positivity and good vibes means that there’s every chance I’ll pass on to the new world amidst a Microsoft blog post edit. And you know what, that’s fine by me.