As of Summer 2017, I have been working at a firm in San Francisco called BACtrack. The firm currently stands as the #1 most-trusted brand of breathalyzers, with over 16 years of experience in the industry. We provide the most accurate, convenient and affordable breath alcohol testing devices on the market. My official title is a “Sales and Marketing Intern”. This does encompass a lot of my day-to-day work, but as I will explain in the following text, we all do a lot more than that which is in our job description — with a smile of course.
I’m not sure where my views of an ideal work environment and culture stand in the vast pool of Gen Y and Z’s in the market. Recently I’ve come across many articles, blogs, podcasts and other forms of media claiming how my view may be in the majority. Nevertheless, the following are the most important when it comes to my preferences in a work environment –
- “The team, the team, the team…”
This is a very familiar phrase for those who are and have been blessed to have hailed from the Maize and Blue – I’ve been fortunate enough to have lived by some form of this saying for all my life. Of course, this has transferred into my views when it comes to my ambitions and work. Having grown up in the presence of both entrepreneurs and big company executives, I’ve noticed from an early age the importance of employees and colleagues working together and for each other rather than for themselves. This is a very broad idea, which ranges from the willingness to lend a hand and step in when required at jobs beyond one’s job description to sharing individual views on ideas, strategies, daily work etc. I’m a firm believer in working as a team as this not only fosters innovation but trust and dedication towards the goals and one another.
- No work is too big or too small
This idea is similar to the one above but revolves around respect. Referring to the environment I was raised in, I believe in treating all aspects of work with equal respect, from executive decision making positions to support staff. Respect is a key factor in the workplace which helps the organization not only push the possible bureaucracy and politics aside for innovation but also helps foster an efficiency in delivery that may otherwise be stifled.
- Common goals, common reward
This is another idea which may be tied back to the aforementioned. This one from my perspective revolves around the approach of the work and work-reward factor. Firstly, it focuses on individuals looking at the firm’s mission and goals as their own. Employees are not here to come in daily, take part in their scripted routine and leave. They are constantly working with the passion and enthusiasm as if they were the owners. Everyone is part of the front lines and they give everything they have every day for the common cause. The second factor is work-reward. The firm and its employees foster a scene of feeling rewarded not just through materialistic gains such as salaries and bonuses but also in the pride of success — success in attaining their colleague’s goals and success in attaining the firm’s goals.
I’m writing this piece a few weeks into my internship and would like to preface the following section by saying that I genuinely love working with this organization and with this team. Recapping on my preferences, I feel I’ve found everything and more thus far.
- A warm welcome and clear goal setting
Day one, off the bat I felt how tightly knit and welcoming the team was. From simple banter from a Spartan from the marketing team to assisting me in getting up to speed with my requirements and assignments, I was made to feel as though I was part of the BACtrack family for ages. Also, among the occasional work banter was a keen sense of understanding amongst everyone of what the firm stood for and the milestones and goals ahead; so transparent that even an intern could pick up and move with the pack from the first week!
- As an intern
Everyone did have their job descriptions but this did not mean everyone only stuck to their jobs and never got involved in the rest. Take me for example — an intern was working on sales analytics for most of the major clients, was tasked with setting up and executing important projects, but also helped in boxing, repackaging and assisting in shipping when required. Heck, even the CEO and COO got involved when push came to shove, which it did one fine Friday morning. Again, very transparent to see how everyone respected each other’s work and were willing to do their share if and when needed.
- Having each other’s back
I tell you I’ve experienced almost everything there is to experience in my short time with BACtrack. One example of how everyone was up to speed with the requirements of each job and the common goal was when a high ranking team member had to deal with some serious family issues the same week they were supposed to fly to another state for work. Being the new guy, I did panic a bit — this task was crucial for one of the ongoing projects. Sure enough, though, another team member stepped in with ease and brought the baton home. I’d go into further detail but I’m unsure of how much I can share at this event, but you get the gist. Everyone is aware and always up to speed with all the work that goes on in the organization. They are willing to step in for their teammate if needed, not just to help them out but to help the firm reach its goals!
I could go on and on about how amazing the company and the team is, but I might come off as repetitive. My main take away from this reflection was understanding what I want in a firm in which I work and a plea to you to find yours — be it in terms personnel, environment, location etc. What is it that you want and why? Find the answer to that and I guarantee your time as an intern or as a full-time employee will be far more enjoyable!
I am an international student from Bangladesh at the University of Michigan — Ann Arbor, studying Interdisciplinary Physics. As of Summer 2017, I’ve been working as sales and marketing intern for a San Francisco startup. To connect , contact me on LinkedIn, Twitter, and/or follow my journey on my SoundCloud channel.