This month, I reached my five year anniversary at FirstPerson. I'm not sure why the number five causes more reflection than four or three years, but it has created the opportunity to look back on my time here.
I think of this anniversary similarly to the milestone of turning five years old. By that age, you're starting school. You start riding a bike. You're learning a lot. You're a big deal at five. While nobody at the office calls me a big deal (not yet, anyway), I do feel like I've learned a thing or two… or five.
I've learned how to hug
My previous jobs were with very large, corporate, and some would say bureaucratic companies. To give more than a handshake, let alone an actual hug, was unheard of. At FirstPerson, we’re all about hugging each other. And our clients. We truly have a special relationship that goes beyond business. We care and celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, new babies, etc. Together. And we mourn the losses of loved ones. Together. While hugging may not always be my first move, I've learned the importance of connecting with others beyond a working relationship.
Find your own way to recognize others. I understand not everyone's a hugger; I'm still learning for sure. But work can be awfully boring if we don't build meaningful relationships with those around us.
I've slowly learned what I'm good at... and what I'm not
At FirstPerson, I've been given some amazing opportunities to try new things and work in various roles. Those opportunities have given me the chance to understand what I enjoy doing, and also what I'm good at. I like opportunities to be creative. To help clients find a solution where they had felt stuck before. To interact with people who want to get unstuck.
I've been in roles that I could have done without. They were painful for me. And probably for others. I was responsible for things that were not my strengths. I learned quickly when it wasn't a fit, and was fortunate enough to move out of those roles.
It's so important to find the role that uses your strengths. It doesn't mean that your work will come with responsibilities that you don't necessarily like or that may make you uncomfortable. But by understanding your strengths, it will help you find work you truly enjoy. And then surround yourself with others who fill in your gaps.
Put family first
Early at my time at FirstPerson, I went through an evening MBA program. Add in a working spouse and two children under the age of four, things got busy. I was working a lot and it was hard to be fully present with them. It wasn't until the last year of the program when I got my act together by looking at it similarly to work. I planned out family nights and date nights with my wife.
Regardless of what you have on your plate, never forget those who matter most to you. For me, to truly put them first, I had to think of it in the same way I went about how I got my work done.
Be comfortable with change
Working at FirstPerson and within the healthcare industry, I can't think of a time where we've done the same thing twice. Early on it felt like you had to fight the change and uncertainty. Now, I realize that change is just part of the journey. We frequently have to shift what we already know and be comfortable with moving forward into the unknown. Regardless of our roles or industry, we have to be able to embrace the discomfort of something new or different.
People truly matter most
Playing various HR roles over the years, I've had the opportunity to ask employees why they like working at their company. Nine times out of ten, it's because of the people. And that is truth at FirstPerson. We hire the best employees and work with the best clients in town.
Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with the best people you can. I have for the last five years, and I'm so thankful for that time.