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Volunteers, Not Prisoners

By Casey Schultz on Dec 3, 2018

Before we get started, I should get everyone up to speed on my current status as I’m writing this. It’s a Friday morning and, so far, nothing has blown up in my face. Mandy brought in egg bake for the entire staff (it was delicious) and I’ve got a cold Diet Dew at my side (not a coffee drinker). It’s a pretty good start to the day, so please take the following with a grain of salt.

In the world of professional sports, players are always coming and going from team to team. Some more frequently than others. Some due to their own requests. Others are simply traded to another team for various reasons. Just the other day, I caught a snippet from a professional coach saying, “We want volunteers on our team, not prisoners.” Obviously, the player in question wasn’t happy about his current team/situation and the coach could clearly see that this player felt stuck with not much for options – a prisoner of sorts.

Long story short, the player worked out an agreement to be sent to another team. The hope was that his happiness would not only help elevate his level of play, but also remove his “prisoner” mentality that he had been experiencing with his previous team which was not only affecting him but the rest of the team as well.

Let’s face it – if you’re happy, energized, feel a sense of worth and enjoy your surroundings, you’ll likely perform better at your job. Now, there are always exceptions as well as internal and external factors almost daily. Is it possible for someone to have a rough day at work, even though they love their job? Of course – happens all the time, but as a leader of our company, I’m trying to do my part to keep everyone happily employed.

At Caliber, we try to build a team and environment that contributes to everyone’s well-being. I know “culture” is a hot topic, especially in the creative/marketing world, but you can’t just order that off Amazon. Culture is built over time. One example is our office foosball table. It doesn’t necessarily move the needle when it comes to perks, but it provides a simple outlet for us to get away from our desks and have some fun while encouraging us to interact with each other on a different level. I can’t just install a culture and expect everything to be magically perfect. Can I help influence it? Hopefully. After all, that’s part of my role here at Caliber.

What do I think the key ingredient is? People. Hands down…people. No one wants to work with a group of unpleasant people, no matter how talented they are. All in all, we spend a lot of time with our coworkers.

Luckily enough, Caliber is very fortunate to have a great collection of people that is keeping our culture alive and well (did I mention the egg bake?). I feel like our team wants to be here, wants to do great work for our clients, wants to be associated with their coworkers, wants to work together for the success of the team as a whole, wants to be a part of Caliber and our outstanding clients. That’s a pretty good feeling for me and I hope our team feels the same way.

Now, in the truest sense of the word “volunteer” – would our team show up and work their tails off every day for “no financial or social gain (per Wikipedia)?” Not likely – and I don’t blame them. That’s not realistic, we all have bills to pay. But, there are also plenty of other ways to pay the bills.

So, as 2018 winds down and we look ahead to a bigger and brighter year in 2019 – I couldn’t be more excited about the team we currently have in place.


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