On the Friday before Labor Day weekend, two editors and I were still working in the late afternoon. Most Fridays are quiet and we all start our weekends early. On this afternoon, team members who did not take the entire day off had already meandered out. The editors werenâ€™t ready to leave and asked me what I would write about for my column this month.
â€śI have a feeling of contentment and belonging in our offices that I want to write about,â€ť was my realization and reply. They could identify with that, they shared.
I am not unique in feeling that our magazine team is very much a family,
albeit in a business setting. Those of us in small businesses are
almost unanimous in ascribing to that. Even very large businesses have
compartmentalized units that seem like family to them. It is a good
Family unitsâ€”either related or united by a common connectionâ€”share goals, emotions, surroundings, understandings. The feelings of all-for-one and pride in accomplishments buoy them up, and difficulties motivate them to improve. Everything that happens in the unit is shared in one way or the other.
Belonging is something we all crave, I believe. In business, each of us shares in the success â€“ or in the failure â€“ of our mission. Since seven of our 10 team members have been together from 15 to 32 years, we really are the â€śwell-oiled machineâ€ť that makes it possible to produce and mail well over a million issues of our magazines each year.
Family is family.
Whether we are
with our life family
or with our career family,
when we are compatible
with each other,
it just works!
In the first six years of our 38 years in business, I had other excellent employees, who moved on over the years, some to greener pastures (sometimes tearfully, wishing they could afford to stay). It is not unlike a biological family that may disburse geographically in pursuit of careers. In both instances, individuals remain in the hearts of the family members.
What happens for me is that work gets easier each year, trusting the current generation to produce publications with excellenceâ€”as I get the credit! I want to acknowledge in print what I know in my heart. I would be lost without them.
And why do our team members stay? I believe that we share a love of putting out magazines we are proud of, with people who are excellent in their fields of expertise, and because we acknowledge each other.
One other factor is key, I believe, in making a business family happy. Our business life must be compatible with our home life. Flexibility has been a key tenet of our company. We all have a life outside of the business, that sometimes comes first. It must. Our favorite explanation to new hires has long been, â€śYou need to be here for our monthly deadline. You can certainly be off for a root canal; but donâ€™t schedule a routine cleaning.â€ť
Family is family. Whether we are with our life family or with our career family, when we are compatible with each other, it just works!
Jean Loxley-Barnard has been a writer all her life and studied both sociology and psychology at George Washington University where she earned a B.A. Her company, The Shopper, Inc., encompasses all the Loxley-Barnard family publications - The Shopper Magazines and Doctor to Doctor Magazine. She has been in the advertising, consulting and publishing business for 38 years.