In January, I celebrated 11 years at Hager Sharp.
Considering I’m a millennial and it was my first real job out of college, 11 years is a long time to stay at one company. According to a LinkedIn study, millennials jump jobs four times during the first decade of their careers. Why do we do that? Apparently, we’re restless and want to move up the ranks quickly. We bounce from company to company, position to position. When I reflect on why I’ve stayed at Hager Sharp and why I’m bucking the trend set by my millennial counterparts, here’s what rises to the top:
- Small business means more opportunity. When I started at Hager Sharp, there were only about 25 people at the entire company. That meant that I had to roll up my sleeves and do whatever was asked of me, and it gave me the chance to participate in all aspects of an account. As an account coordinator, I was working on things my friends at other agencies weren’t and learning a lot along the way, which allowed me to develop a robust, diverse skill set. It also meant that my work and my contributions were being recognized, especially by senior leaders. And that ultimately led to more opportunities.
- Culture matters. Since Hager Sharp is independent and not beholden to a parent company, we get to control our culture. As employees, we have a say in what’s important to us and our CEO takes it seriously. We celebrate birthdays, babies, and weddings; we host quarterly potlucks; we’re treated to lunch to celebrate our anniversary; and when you hit 10 years, you get to go on a trip (I went to Costa Rica!). It’s pretty awesome and makes coming to work every day more enjoyable.
- Passion is key. When I left college, I had no idea what part of the PR industry I wanted to work in. I accepted a position on Hager Sharp’s education team, but quickly discovered I was much more interested in the projects the health team was working on. When I voiced my desire to switch, senior leaders made it happen. In doing that, I got to work on really interesting, important topics—women’s health, distracted driving, older adult health, bone health, girl’s health, eye health, and more—and truly found my passion. In fact, I ended up going back to school to get a master’s degree in public health. If I hadn’t found that passion, I’m sure I would have left Hager Sharp long ago. Instead, I continue to work on topics and accounts that excite and challenge me.
These are just a few reasons why 11 years have flown by in the blink of an eye! It also helps to have fun co-workers and engaged leadership, and to feel like you’re continuously learning and making a difference.
Elizabeth Osborn, M.P.H.