Two years ago, I was freelancing as a marketing and communications consultant. I had several clients on retainer and a few ad hoc jobs coming in each month, so I was able set my own hours. Most days I worked out of the corner of my downtown apartment with my toy Yorkshire terrier sprawled across my lap. Some days, I would glance at the clock in the middle of the day and realize I had yet to change out of my pajamas. It was comfy, cushy, and convenient. When it came to the daily operations of my career, I had all the freedoms in the world.
While I enjoyed the freelance lifestyle, I felt that there was something missing, namely a support system. Flexibility comes at a price: I was a one-woman show — sourcing clients, developing campaign strategies, directing and designing creative assets, executing campaigns, delivering reports, managing the financial operations. I did it all. It was rewarding, but it was difficult to grow professionally all by myself.
So, when I came across a job posting for a corporate communications role Havas Media, I thought, "Why not check it out?" After all, we're talking benefits! Insurance! Paid time off! Coworkers to bounce ideas off of and perhaps grab the (not so) occasional Aperol spritz at happy hour!
Fast-forward to today and I'm thrilled to work for a company that prioritizes investments in their staff. Working for an hourly rate makes it tough to find the time to invest in your own career; but, at Havas Media, professional and personal development are greatly encouraged. In fact, I consider the agency to be my masters program, without having to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars for further education.
In the past 12 months alone, I was granted tuition to use towards a Spanish language class through the company's BetterU program, which funds extracurricular learning up to $500 each year for all full-time employees. I regularly attend industry conferences all over the country, where I have the opportunity to network and learn from leading professionals in our marketplace. Our internal development program, Havas University, covers topics ranging from mastering Excel to public speaking. I even had the opportunity to host my own Lunch & Learn where I taught my colleagues the importance of personal branding through social media.
Most recently, I was selected to attend Fast Forward Women, an eight-hour workshop that encourages attendees to take a step back, address challenges, and identify strengths, and provides a practical, actionable regimen to help women thrive professionally and personally. Fast Forward Group was emotionally challenging — I would liken it to an 8-hour group therapy session — but it was through this program that I was able to acknowledge personal and professional roadblocks and navigate an action plan for my future.
Working in advertising and media means we are in a people business and talent is our most important resource. The well-being and development of employees is an intrinsic part of an organization's success — happier employees mean happier clients, which is beneficial to everyone.
And if you're wondering if I miss the flexibility of freelancing, the answer is no. I've found flexibility in the stability of an office job. I no longer have to chase clients for payment or worry about securing new work. I have the opportunity to collaborate with smart, problem-solving colleagues every day and leave my work at the office; that separation of church and state is worth its weight in gold.
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