As is often the case, seeing a diverse group of people come together helped me remember what is truly important.
At my company, O.C. Tanner, we celebrate select work anniversaries with a small ceremony involving multiple speakers who highlight achievements or qualities of the employee. Today was the one-year anniversary of a man who is about to become my new product manager, and I was touched.
Beyond the kind words that were said about him, one fact that spoke volumes of him was the crowd that gathered. Not just the number of people, although that was impressive in its own right. What jumped out at me the most was the makeup of the group. There were so many people from different departments who came to celebrate with him. It was one of the first times I have seen that kind of audience at a one-year anniversary.
The specific group that impressed me with their attendance was our client success team. Many people in our product/technology department work with client success as little as possible. As they said themselves during the ceremony, they are often needy and demanding, reflecting the concerns of the clients they represent. We have a tendency to focus on the new and exciting, and have a harder time embracing the value of maintenance and enhancement, and those whose lives focus on maintenance are often perceived as less valuable.
I left the anniversary celebration inspired. I just passed my four-year mark, which does not have a formal ceremony. As I think about my five-year anniversary next year, I want to approach that with intentionality. Obviously, I cannot control who will choose to come or not. But the more people with whom I work and get close, the more diverse the audience can be. I have realized that the people with whom I work are some of the most important and valuable opportunities for learning and growth that I have. I hope that I can remember that over my next year, and throughout my career.