Working in Digital: Finding Community at Work With PMG’s Early Career Program
Despite growing up in a small town in Western Michigan, travel and adventure have been some of the biggest drivers in my life. At the same time, with the exception of a family vacation or study abroad experience, I had never lived outside of my West Michigan bubble before graduating college. It was for this very reason I knew how important it was to push myself to move outside of my home state when I graduated with my BBA in 2021. Accepting an offer to join PMG’s Graduate Leadership Program (GLP) Class of 2021 helped me to make that goal a reality!
Though our Graduate Leadership Program experience was virtual due to the pandemic, I decided to move to Austin, Texas to be closer to one of our office hubs. In the months leading up to the move, there were plenty of nerves accompanying the excitement and anticipation. Let’s be clear here, I knew no one in the entire state of Texas. My core support system and community was in Michigan and the idea of leaving my friends and family felt overwhelming at times. I had very natural fears: “What if I don’t make any friends in Austin?” “What if the company culture at PMG isn’t what I’m expecting?” Luckily, my time in the GLP, and now as a SEM Coordinator, has far exceeded any expectations I had a year ago.
One of the most valuable aspects of the Graduate Leadership Program was the sense of community that forms during the experience among your cohort of program participants. Improving employee relationships is a huge focus at PMG, and took shape with activities such as boba-making classes, virtual bingo nights, and Zoom parties. PMG even hosted company-wide happy hours, COVID-safe events, and drive-in movie nights to help employees get to know each other outside of work. In my experience of the program, bonding was a core part of the GLP. Since our cohort was located across multiple cities, we coordinated in-person hangouts like beach days and dinners to get to know each other better. Nowadays, those hangouts include Halloween parties and The Bachelor Mondays.
While the first few weeks were filled with newbie jitters, our GLP class quickly found we had many things in common, and there was plenty to learn from one another. For one thing, about half of our cohort had relocated to new locations. This made exploring our cities an exciting adventure for bonding, and gave us a chance to share our experiences openly with one another. One of the most unique parts of GLP is getting to share in the experience with other recent graduates starting their first job after graduating.
There aren’t many people who have the opportunity to start their career alongside 75 other new graduates, which meant that we could share the nerves, excitement for our placements at PMG, and celebrate a sense of pride in each other after completing the program with a group of people who had been through it together.
Though we’ve graduated from the program, the relationships between members of our GLP cohort have only grown stronger. Many of us work across similar teams or clients, so we are in the unique position of working together at work while also being genuine friends in our free time.
While I may have hoped at one time to make connections at my future workplace, I never imagined that my coworkers would become some of my closest friends and supporters, helping me embrace my move to Texas. I am extremely thankful to have joined PMG and the GLP, which have given me a community of people who I can count on to support and push me to be my best self—both in and out of the office!
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Posted by: Cat Lemus
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