At the beginning of summer, Stone Ward welcomed this summer’s Camp Reality interns.  The first few days I heard the interns talking about the perks of the job (a fully stocked kitchen of free food) and seeing furry friends around the office (the latter is actually a daily occurrence).  I found it interesting what they took notice of and wonder how their perspectives have changed as we enter the last week of their internships. 

Unlike many of my millennial counterparts, I’ve been fortunate enough to only have a few jobs in nearly a decade out of college.  While companies may be selective in who they hire, we should be selective in where we work.  Research and talk with current and former employees, read about how a prospective employer is viewed in the industry, and when possible, even talk with clients.  So while no job is ever perfect, here are the things I’ve learned that I value most.

  • Fun – I know it’s called work for a reason, but we spend a great deal of our lives at work.  If you aren’t having fun, then you need to change that for your own professional benefit!  Bloomberg Business reported that “people are more productive and creative when they have more positive emotions.”  Furthermore, “they were more likely to come up with a new idea or solve a complex problem” when they felt positive.  A fully stocked kitchen and cute puppies around the office definitely add to the fun factor around Stone Ward, but so does comradery, trust and an environment built for learning.
  • Flexibility – Life happens and sometimes you need a little flexibility to deal with a broken air unit that needs a part replaced in the middle of summer, attend your child’s class party at school, or run to the dentist for your six month cleaning and check-up.  I know my work still has to be done and on schedule, but I also tremendously value the flexibility to take care of life and not feel stressed when doing so. 
  • Forgiveness – We’re human and mistakes are going to happen.  When they do, it’s great to work for a company that has a forgiving culture.  Time and energy is saved when you feel safe enough to admit your mistake and apologize, work to correct the problem, and move on with your regular work.  This creates a culture that’s honest, more likely to take accountability (rather than spending time pointing fingers), and allows us to learn from our mistakes.
  • Freedom – To be trusted and given the freedom to do my job is by far the most important aspect of any job to me.  Freedom provides opportunities to be creative, a chance to think of solutions to problems, and the ability to take pride in my work.  Google says the payoff of employee freedom “shows up in increased innovation and productivity, low turnover, low sickness rates, and high employee satisfaction.”
  • Philanthropy – A company that gives back to the community is one that aligns well with my personal belief in helping others.  This one is just a personal preference, but it usually permeates the entire culture of a company in “doing good” – one of our core principles at Stone Ward.

My advice to our Camp Reality interns would be to think about what you value most and put a heavy emphasis on finding a company that provides those benefits to employees.  You’ll be much happier in the long-term and more likely to flourish not just professionally, but at home as well.  Because when you’re happy at work, you’re happier at home.

What advice do you have for our Camp Reality interns?