How a Mission Statement Made Me Feel at Home

by Salem Baer

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Thus concludes everything I knew about development/coding prior to my first day of work at Differential. Unfortunately the history degree I received two months ago didn’t cover much past the invention of the internet. With my liberal arts background and this being my first real job, if you can believe it, I was a little intimidated on my first day as I met highly skilled developers who, in my imagination, could turn a microwave into a fighting robot in 30 minutes (can you guys do that? I’m still learning). However, 7 days later, nerves have subsided and I feel like an integral part of the Di team. Here is a quick look at how I got there.

Written across the largest wall in the office is our mission statement: “Rapidly unlock value for good people with meaningful ideas.” While most companies have a mission statement, all too often it is used more as a marketing device for potential customers rather than as the foundation and vision for the company. Within a few hours it became clear to me that this wasn’t the case for Differential. Their mission not only defines how they work with clients, but how they treat each other, and new members like me.

Rapidly Unlock Value

At Differential, unlocking the value and potential of an employee means aligning their role in the company with their personal interests and long-term career goals. As a result, there exists a culture of curiosity about each other’s passions and honesty about one’s own career objectives, whether that be within or outside of the company. This culture helps place team members in roles and projects where they are most enthusiastic and self-motivated. An ongoing conversation I’ve had since my first interview here is what I want to learn from this job and how I want to grow. The more I figure out and express the answers to those questions, the more fitting and rewarding my role here becomes.

For Good People With Meaningful Ideas

Any culture, good or bad, is made up of individuals. A ping pong table in the office doesn’t do anything; people using a ping pong table as a productivity break or as a means of getting to know each other shapes culture. Though we don’t have a ping pong table, Di has a pretty great culture, and this didn’t happen by accident—it’s something that was carefully built and is earnestly protected. Externally this means choosing to work with good, hard-working clients who have consequential ideas they are passionate about seeing realized in the world. Internally, it means only bringing kind, dedicated individuals onto the team (one sec, I have to pat myself on the back). In the office everyone seems genuinely excited about their projects and eager to work on them. And despite their busy schedules, every team member was happy to take time to answer my rookie questions.

As I celebrate my week and a half anniversary at Differential today (an excuse for me to get a donut for breakfast), my nerves are gone, and I’m excited for the work ahead. Being surrounded by curious, honest, considerate, dedicated people who actually live by their company’s mission statement made it an easy transition.

But seriously guys, maybe we should get a ping pong table too.

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