Last year, Jillian and I attended the Best Places to Work in Idaho ceremony for the first time. We felt proud to be surrounded by so many incredible local employers, and we were buzzing with anticipation (and maybe a little wine).
Autumn Kersey of Treasure Valley Children's Theater began calling up winners from our category. Believe me, we were so honored to be there, we would have been thrilled to be called up first to accept the 10th place award. With each winner that wasn't us, our eyes grew wider. 10th, 9th, 8th, 7th--and these were amazing companies we respect and admire! We couldn't believe it when Autumn announced her "friends in downtown Meridian, Tribute Media" for 5th place.
I hate saying we were "shocked" because I know I love my job. I know Jillian is always going above and beyond to think of cool things we can do to make Tribute Media a great place to work. Corey is a fun boss, not to mention an inspiration (don't tell him I said that). But it's an incredible thing to realize that every Tribute Media employee enjoys coming to work as much as I do.
Jillian and I left with one question in our minds: What else can we do? What will it take to be number one? (Okay, that's two questions.)
The rest of 2016 and early 2017 brought the introduction of Office Free Friday, pay increases for everyone in the company and meal perks. When the opportunity to attend this year's BPTW Awards came up, we just knew we had to invite our whole team so they could experience what Jillian and I did last year. I mean, it's the 10th anniversary of the Best Places to Work in Idaho Awards, Tribute Media turns 10 this year AND it was our second year of placing in the top 10. We just knew this year was going to be special.
And it was SPECIAL.
First place, you guys. FIRST. PLACE.
Looking around at my team as the winners were announced, seeing their eyes grow wider, watching the smiles of pride and confidence on the faces of my coworkers around me as the numbers crept closer first--my heart was bursting, and my eyes were wet.
I think I blacked out from excitement. I couldn't even remember what song they played for us. This morning, I had to consult the video (that I at least had the presence of mind to start shooting right before Corey went up to accept the award) to find out it was "Thanks for the Memories," by Fall Out Boy. It was such a strange feeling to be, all at once, bursting with pride and just straight-up humbled. The honorees list (across all categories) included our friends, clients and many organizations that inspire us.
I felt grateful for all the friendly faces and genuine smiles and applause of support coming from the people around us as the entire Tribute Media team made its way up to the front for a group photo. I was even lucky enough to find the beaming face of my best friend, and one-time business partner, who was there with her company as a top ten winner as well. What even is this amazing life where I get to have the support of the woman who helped me start my career and supported my decision to leave our business to join Tribute Media?
As I mentioned, it's a happy feeling to know that my coworkers love their jobs as much as I love mine. And I love my job. I mean, I am like head over heels.
I actually had a crush on Tribute Media for a while. I saw them in the community and at networking events, and they always seemed to be having the most fun. One night, about four years ago, while walking in downtown Meridian with my husband, we passed the Tribute Media office and I turned to my husband and said, "I'm going to work there someday."
Just like that cheesy moment in every Rom-Com and/or country song where someone declares they'll marry that boy/girl someday, that is what I said. I'm not proud of this cliché, but it's pretty funny if you think about it.
So I never forget how lucky I am, even though every day isn't easy and fun and perfect. It is work after all. It can be frustrating. I've missed goals--for myself, for my company and for my clients. I've made mistakes. I haven't dealt with every challenge perfectly. I've cried in the bathroom (and, if we're being honest, probably just about every other space in the office at some point). But that's the thing with an intensely rewarding job in a field you love, with coworkers and clients you care for so fiercely. It's only as rewarding as it is important. And we do important work. We help other businesses grow.
That is why, for me, Tribute Media is the best place to work in Idaho. My coworkers may have different stories, but I know they share my passion.
It is an honor for Tribute Media to be number one, but we haven't "arrived." We've set the bar for ourselves and we are our fiercest competitor. We have aggressive goals for growth and that growth will mean more jobs for more people who will get to come to work every day at one of the best places to work in Idaho.