4 0 2

402 days. 402 (plus or minus… mostly minus) posts.

Tag: environment

Day 97: Good Work

In January, I started a 40-hour/week contract position with a smart, savvy and totally hip (I don’t use that word lightly—this place is hip) digital marketing agency. Working there has really informed how I view good collaboration and healthy work environments.

The collection of strategists, creatives and producers working smoothly together and in parallel with each other is pretty amazing. Sure, people get stressed. But it’s the good kind of stress that leaves you in slightly stunned wonder at the end of each day (“How did we possibly get that much done?”).

From my very new and somewhat-outsider perspective, here’s what I think is going on:

Everyone is allowed and expected to be flexible in his or her role. The strategists come up with copy when the writers aren’t available. Writers create timelines when the producers are on other projects. The producers dig for good imagery when the designers are booked up and the designers are fierce strategists. Everyone defers to the “expert” in the room when one is available, but no one works in a tightly defined box.

People laugh. Often. And loudly. All thirty-plus staffers sit at two gigantic tables and work next to and across from each other, so laughter travels fast.

People like each other. The agency doesn’t hire employees on a whim. It’s a lengthy get-to-know you process in which cultural fit is highly valued. It’s easy to work with people you like. Since it’s easy, work gets done quickly, efficiently and with minor (if any) pauses to mediate personnel issues.

It’s not personal or hierarchical. Since the majority of the work done is on behalf of an outside client, the best idea always wins. It doesn’t matter who came up with it. This type of mentality serves all parties well. The clients are happy with the level of thought and execution put in at all levels of all projects and they continue to send the agency business.

In short, it’s a pretty cool and functional place.

Day 59: Ch-Ch-Changes

At some point every single day, I think about global warming and how our climate is changing. It’s a scary and interesting phenomenon, and the planet’s transition—both naturally and through human intervention—is becoming more and more apparent.

Traveling through this extremely beautiful Australian climate has made me even more aware of the changes happening around the world.

Parts of Australia are in a drought this year. Ciara and I witnessed the results of the lack of rain as we drove north through north Queensland and saw dry creeks, brown fields and fire warnings mixed in with the lush natural tropics of the area. And we were in the wettest part of the continent—during the rainiest season of the year. Nearly every public bathroom we visited displayed a sign just above the sink with a plea for water conservation. (Granted, when we arrived at our final destination, at a hostel just south of Cairns, it was absolutely pelting rain. But the pelting may have been due to the incoming cyclone.)

Last weekend, she and I went on a sailing trip around the Whitsunday Islands and snorkeled through parts of the Great Barrier Reef. It was extraordinary. I especially enjoyed floating over the reef with my head submerged, watching an amazing world unfold underneath me while listening to the electric snapping sounds of the Rainbow Parrot Fish munching on coral. (I imagined the snapping sounds were coming from the electric, deadly jellyfish I’d heard so much about, but my fears were dissuaded when I witnessed the scraping and scratching of the coral. Fish are loud eaters.)

The beautiful and noisy reef I just met is swiftly disappearing, along with the other wildlife who are part of it.

I feel lucky to have been able to swim up close to the reef and briefly experience the water animal kingdom. And my sense of luck is paired with an understanding that the reef will not always look as it did when I saw it. It will die and disappear, much as many other species of plants and animals have died and disappeared.

With you as my digital witness, I hereby promise to do everything I can to move myself onto the positive side of the climate change equation. I pledge to be more aware of my natural environment and will act as its steward, not its enemy.

After all the natural gifts I’ve received on this trip, it seems like the least I can do.

Great Barrier Reef