The duration I’ve been at this job is almost always a jaw-dropper. “Going on ten years,” I tell people. And it’s true — I was hired as an ANPR intern during my senior year of college. Fast forward to ten years later, I’m entering my 30s but far from entering another gig.
While on the surface, working for a small firm for the duration of a decade could seem really stifling, I’d argue it’s been entirely the opposite. Here are my thoughts on why working for a small firm, (for the long haul), is especially worthwhile:
SMALL FIRM MYTH 1: Your co-workers are small in numbers, limiting the social aspect of your job and the opportunity for inspiration/mentorship.
SMALL FIRM MYTH BUSTED: While our ANPR team is small, it’s strong and tight-knit. I trust and admire my co-workers, and the level of mentorship I’ve been able to gain from working so closely with Alissa all these years has been tremendous. (While someone you don’t know but admire could be inspiring, I find mentorship more effective when it’s coming from someone I know especially well.) Not to mention, at ANPR, we don’t just say we aim to be a part of our clients’ teams, we really make that happen. We keep lines of communication with our clients so open that I feel like I’m fully on staff at the magazines/media entities we represent, meaning my co-workers actually outnumber that of some midsize firms, without ever running the risk of me becoming reduced to an employee number. At a small firm, your work—and you—really matter.
SMALL FIRM MYTH 2: Your job will soon get boring, because, unlike a bigger firm, there aren’t other teams you can join or extra projects to get involved in.
SMALL FIRM MYTH BUSTED: Whether we’re immersing ourselves in a new client, learning the latest new media techniques, or brainstorming about a client event, my work here is never boring. As part of a team at a small firm, your opinion matters and is taken into consideration when going after new business. This is huge – and means that essentially you end up working on more projects that you actually care about. You have more control over your daily focus than you would at a bigger firm. And, with a small team, you have to have your hands in everything in order to be effective. You’ll never “title-out” of pitching or researching journalists, which keeps you in the loop and up to date with the news and the contacts you really need.
SMALL FIRM MYTH 3: There’s no opportunity for growth at a small firm.
SMALL FIRM MYTH BUSTED: I will tell you based on experience, that the growth opportunities at a small firm are remarkable, essentially because you are working at a small firm. You can’t hide behind your cube when your company consists of four people.When your team is limited, every member of the staff has to be nimble and has to contribute hugely to the company’s work. You are expected to step up to the plate. You are expected to bring more to the table. You are expected to vary your perspective and offer up a fresh take on things. You’re expected to run the meeting when your boss is out sick. You’re expected to show up to the event and take charge when your coworkers are stuck in traffic. This is tremendous, and has been hugely valuable to my professional growth.
Other, miscellaneous reasons a small firm rules: Your boss gives you seriously thoughtful birthday/holiday gifts; company lunches happen often because it’s not such a huge expense; internal staff meetings include actual work but some personal catching up too; your co-workers support you in a majorly authentic way – there’s no room for competition in a small firm.
And wait, did I mention you get to know your co-workers really well?
Bonus: The entire firm can fit into one photobooth