N00b's Log: My First Month at Unboxed
Stop me if you’ve heard this one. I decided I was going to be a writer when I was 14 years old and won my first poetry contest. Time passed—lots of time. Like so many writers out there, I relegated my creative ambitions to late nights after a full day at the office. I recognized that most people don’t get to channel their passion into their day jobs, and also that I’ve at least had the fortune to have some really great day jobs. Still…I could never quite give up on my search for that creative role.
Today, I’m the newest Content Strategist at Unboxed Technology. I work with an amazing team to create scripts, develop storyboards, and even direct my work on set. I made the leap to join the team a little over a month ago, and spoiler alert: I feel exceptionally lucky to be here. How did I get here? Why did I make the leap? Let me start at the beginning. I first read about Unboxed Technology in the Richmond Times Dispatch, where they were named one of the best places to work in the city. Richmond BizSense gave them a shout-out as #5 on their 2015 RVA 25. One thing led to another; soon I was perusing their team bios and watching the shorts they produced for the 48-Hour Film Project—I’ve always been a huge fan of the film fest, and these guys participate frequently. (They’re awesome—check out 2012, 2013, and 2015 videos). This sounded like it could be the career I’d been looking for all my life. Then, something crazy happened: they hired me! I had a chance to find out if this company was the one, and kept this log all about it.
8:30 A.M. Almost to the office. During the interview process, I recognized Unboxed as a place where I could be myself, a company where I could grow, and a group of people I could really make friends with. Now I’m dealing with an acute bout of imposter syndrome. (There’s help for that, by the way: here are 21 tips). [caption id="attachment_3698" align="alignleft" width="640"] 1967, the day Sweden changed from driving on the left side of the road to the right.[/caption] Short story: I’m nervous; change is scary. 9 A.M. I meet with the kind, funny HR manager, who helps me through my paperwork and puts me at ease. Suspiciously at ease, now that I think about it. I’m on to her. The sooner I let my freak flag fly, the sooner they’ll root out whether or not I belong here. 10 A.M. My manager and I have our first onboarding meeting, and her friendly nature and conversation reassures me. We chat about what to anticipate over the next few weeks, and I feel relieved to see what’s expected of me up front: listen, learn, and be vocal when I have thoughts or questions. She introduces me around the office, and I meet the woman I’ll shadow over the next few weeks. Then they take me to lunch. As we eat, they mention how glad they are I’m here. They’re approachable and down-to-earth. Perhaps suspiciously down-to-earth. 3 P.M. Our monthly Content meeting falls on my first day. The team gathers around the table, cuts into a red velvet cake, and—what?—opens a bottle of champagne. They pour me some. I sit on my hands to keep from texting my friends; the team talks budgets, new initiatives, and upcoming projects. 4:30 P.M. My manager schedules another meeting to recap at the end of the day. She wants to ensure I’m comfortable with all the new information, and seems concerned with how I’m doing in general. I feel well taken care of. 5 P.M. No one’s challenged me to foosball. Yet. Still, I head out smiling.
9 A.M. People continue to stop by to introduce themselves. They ask how I’m doing and whether I need help with anything. I’m good, though—I’ve already found my way to the unlimited snack room. These people love Cheez-Its even more than I do. 10 A.M. I begin shadowing my brilliant and talented colleague, who explains to me what she’s doing, helps debrief me after client calls, and takes an enormous amount of time out of her busy schedule to assist me. I feel I’m learning really quickly with her. Training side note: shadowing is what’s up; I’m getting comfortable pretty quickly. Also, this is true generosity. Suspiciously generous…? 2 P.M. I have a 1:1 meeting with the company’s co-founder. Will he know my name, what I’m doing here, or even have time for me? A: Yes, yes, and yes. He’s friendly and approachable, and it’s interesting to hear more of the company’s backstory as he makes an effort to get to know me better. 4:30 P.M. My manager and I recap again—this is how we end each day. The consistency is a lifeline after long days of meeting people and learning a lot of new information. When I mention I’m nervous about interacting with clients or an upcoming project, she encourages me, and reminds me she’s confident in her hiring decision. I know she means what she’s saying. I think I might love her. 5 P.M. No foosball yet. Still leave smiling.
1 P.M. Today is my first full-office team meeting. I know my way around a staff meeting, so I bring my notebook, in order to work on my grocery list, and caffeine, no explanation necessary. I expect a few boring policy updates, or maybe a silly team-building exercise. Instead, people settle onto beanbags or stretch out on the floor. Team members give peer shout-outs to others they feel have gone above and beyond, and one of our owners talks about the state of the company. If I hadn’t spent so long reading that team bio page, I wouldn’t even know who was in charge. The discussion is friendly, conversational, and refreshingly transparent. Also, pretty fun. Sometimes I love being wrong…but now I’m over-caffeinated for no good reason, and spend the afternoon talking smack about foosball. 3 P.M. Lose at foosball.
[caption id="attachment_3697" align="alignright" width="640"] Also, they’re stuck with me now.[/caption] Nearing the end of my first month at Unboxed. Here’s my honest opinion: there hasn’t been a bad day. My suspicion has dissipated as I’ve realized this really is a great place to work, even when the work itself is demanding. I feel supported, and I haven’t once second-guessed my decision to join the team. Even though I lose every time I play foosball, I wouldn’t want anyone to let me win. I came for the challenge—the camaraderie is the proverbial icing on the cake/ice cream social/Waffle Wednesday. 5 P.M. Leave a little frowny. Fridays just aren’t the same; I love my job so much I’m not in a hurry to leave. I’ve been working a long time—I know there’s no perfect job. But maybe this job is the perfect one for me. Want to join the Unboxed team? Take a look at our open positions and let us know if you think you're a good fit.