You’ve probably heard of the seven year itch — the idea that happiness in a relationship can start to waver around the seven year mark. It’s also applied to working life, with some saying you can work happily in a job for the same amount of time before your mind and body demand a change.
I’m about to clock up eight years here, formerly at Powershop and now Flux, so you could say I’m a bit of an anomaly, especially in the tech industry where turnover is typically high. But when I think about the reasons I’m still here, it’s easy to see why I’ve stayed so long.
I first joined Powershop in 2010. It consisted of 40 people, with software created by an external company, and only used in New Zealand. Fast forward eight years, and the Powershop platform is used in three different countries, Flux Federation is its own software development company, and has over 150 employees (my first 150 reasons for sticking around).
I’d be writing for days if I tried to list every reason why I’m here. So let’s start with three.
1 . We keep it real.
From day one I’ve been surrounded by people who are talented and passionate. Everyone has a job to do, and is committed to getting it done. There are times we don’t always get it right, but the right intention is there — and when we get it wrong, we admit it. No matter what role I have been in, it’s been the people I’ve worked with, that have made the job what it was for me.
As we have grown, our culture has evolved. We’ve split into our own company and moved offices, but we’re still part of the Powershop family. We have three company behaviours to live by, the first is “Give a shit” — and it shines through in the way people are passionate about their work and their workmates, but also about our clients and their customers.
We hire amazing people, and everyone has a part in making sure we integrate our newbies in a way they feel comfortable. We spend a lot of time training them and showing them how we work, but also learning from them and improving who we are because of their input. When they join a team, they hit the ground running — and feel like they are contributing to a great product from early on in their time here.
Some of the smartest people I know work here, and I love that they constantly talk about what they learn from other people. We don’t have rockstars here, we have awesome teams of people working together to learn from each other, constantly improve and produce an awesome product.
2 . “With us, the world is your oyster”.
This is a phrase that is often bounced around in job interviews because it seems like the right thing to say. However at Flux, it’s something we live by. The translation of this phrase usually means “If you’re good at tasks that fall outside your job description, please go ahead and do them”, for people at Flux it means transitioning to a new role when the opportunity comes up, or we create the opportunity for them.
It’s a phrase that I’ve been an exemplar of, and that Flux has delivered on throughout the years I’ve been here. Starting as Systems Delivery Manager at Powershop, I was the first person to take on the role of Test Analyst. However as things usually happen in smaller, growing companies, my role entailed many different aspects. It’s an opportunity that I wouldn’t have otherwise been offered in a larger company, and it meant I was able to progress to a Delivery Manager role when more Test Analysts came along. Now I’m a Client Services Manager, working with our clients to deliver great outcomes for them, their customers and our product.
Our second behaviour is “Think beyond”, which can be applied in so many areas of what we do, and who we are. Think beyond your role, and onto what you want to do next. Think beyond the current approach, and onto how we can extend our product and processes. Think beyond the facade that your colleague is wearing at work, and understand who they are as a person, what they may be going through outside of work, and how you can help them. Think beyond what Flux is right now and onto what we can become!
3. We’re on a mission.
When we first went live, we changed the electricity market. That’s exciting. It makes it worthwhile sticking around.
I have always believed in what we stand for, and how we have evolved over the years as the market has changed. Firstly, I strongly believe that the product we create is awesome, it shook up the market in NZ and now we’re shaking up markets in Australia and the UK. And secondly, caring for our people and adapting to change is a huge factor in the length of time I’ve stayed here. Eight years ago, I wouldn’t have predicted the business would be where it is now and that’s something I find really exciting. No matter what’s changed, I’ve always felt we’ve stood for the same things, and I’ve never lost faith in the work we do. Our third behaviour is “Boldy Go” and that’s what we’re doing, boldly going to whatever and wherever is next. I’m proud to be a part of the crew defining what that is.
I spoke at a conference a couple of years ago with my colleague Emma Bassett, about how the structure we had in place really embraced our people, and was set up to care for them. We used a Maori proverb to explain how much our people mean to us, our people are the thing that makes Flux the best place to work — they are the main reason why I am still here after 8 years.
He aha te mea nui o te ao
What is the most important thing in the world?
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata
It is the people, it is the people, it is the people