Get a Job, They Said

Bio Image for Derek Arnette, Finance Manager

Derek Arnette
Finance Manager

My transition from school to work life so far has been a learning experience. I was lucky enough to get a job right out of the gate, at a small digital services agency in the heart of Washington, D.C., called agencyQ. I never expected to work for a small business; it seemed like the only opportunities out there were coming from companies recruiting hundreds of students at a time. My expectations were simple: Bigger is better, right? However, I’ve come to think differently.

When I found agencyQ, it almost seemed too good to be true. You’re telling me you have a lounge with a popcorn machine? And I can work from home? And your employees have unlimited paid time off?! You had me at popcorn. It all sounded great, but there were several things I didn’t expect when entering the workforce. And most of the differences, I think, stem from the small business environment I currently find myself in.

So, I’ve come up with a list that covers the misconceptions I had coming into this thing they call “a job.” It goes as follows:

When I found agencyQ, it almost seemed too good to be true.
Welcome sign in the agencyQ office

First, you should love what you do, but it’s just as important to love where you do it. agencyQ has an office culture that fosters collaboration, forward thinking, and comfortability. That last one is what surprised me the most. Sometimes I stay late at the office because I like the Q lounge more than I like my own living room.

Second, communication can make or break your success in an organization. In a world where we communicate through screens, I underestimated how important face-to-face communication really is in a business setting.

Third, you don’t need to know everything, but you need to show a desire to learn. I still don’t know a lot about the digital services business, and I thought that was a disadvantage when I got here. Admitting you don’t know something shows the willingness to be taught, and so far, I’ve had some great teachers at Q.

Finally, management wants what’s best for us. Coming from a finance background, I thought running an organization would all be about taking care of the bottom line. Numbers run the business, right? Wrong. Our most important asset is our people, and if they’re not happy, then the company suffers. Ultimately, a company is the people who make it up. Happy employees = happy customers = happy business. And so far it’s been a happy time for me at Q.

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