Most of my working life has been in some form of a customer-facing role… And it still is. Finally, though, things are different.
Whether it was in fast food, retail, or working at Michigan’s Adventure, I was the person customers interacted with – but when you work in places like these, no matter the size, you are just another cog in the churning business machine. A faceless number, there to run a cash register and bear the burden of complaints.
You are totally replaceable, no matter your position in the company… Screw up too many times, or call in just that one last time, and you’re out! No sympathy, no conversation. There are very few situations where you can explain things to your manager and save your employment.
This is the “mega-corporate” hierarchy at work: you are not allowed to be a real person, you are just a worker. If you can’t be a worker to their number-driven standards, they will find someone who will. It is an impersonal, impractical way to cultivate employees who care about their work.
At LongerDays, our approach is about as far from that as you can get.
Our company looks at its team members as real humans with personalities and lives outside the office. We understand when stuff piles up, and when “life happens.”
As long as you’re honest and have your tasks covered, employees are encouraged to take care of themselves. We are not in the business of just having butts in seats to get things done… And our clients don’t want aloof, indifferent assistants.
We care about each person in the office as if they were family. The hiring processes are even different from any interview I have ever done. LongerDays hires to fit the culture and attitude of the team, not just someone who can type quickly or has CRM experience (though those skills certainly help). That’s not to say we hire just anyone with a sparkling personality – our team members need a sense of personal responsibility, drive, and a little technical knowhow as well…
But even the most skillful applicants won’t get hired if they don’t align with our company culture and approach to doing good work.
Everyone who works here knows each other. We all talk throughout the work week and sometimes on weekends… Some of us hang out in our free time. Some of us play in bands together, volunteer for the community together, play games, work on side hustles, make art, attend each other’s weddings and birthday parties… We aren’t just numbers. We actually like each other, and that makes all the difference when the workload gets tough.
Our managers go to bat for us when clients don’t work out (or when they end up treating us like dirt). They listen to us fully and compassionately because THEY ARE US. We’re not a system of bosses and workers… We’re all in this together, not just as employees at LongerDays, but as real people.
This is such a new experience for me! Liking my coworkers after 5pm hasn’t happened in quite some time, and never to this extent.
LongerDays is a jewel – not just for downtown Muskegon, but as a workplace anywhere. Sure, we provide a valuable service to our clients, but to have all these people get along, to lean on each other for support, to actually care about one another beyond the work they produce… That’s what makes it so special.