Last week ROAST celebrated its second birthday. As I looked around at the forty of us who took to the pub to celebrate, in true agency style, I couldn’t help but think how far the agency had come. As the 17th employee to join the then eight-month-old ROAST, I have personally witnessed the company grow in so many ways; offering more digital services, a greater client base and many new staff hires. In fact, our numbers have grown so rapidly that ROAST has set up home in three offices, moving from Oxford Circus to Angel to our new Paddington abode which spans 5000 square feet.
As a freshly graduated History of Art student I already knew that a career in the arts was not for me. Whilst those with economic degrees flocked to the city and my medic friends settled in for another three years of training, my degree had lent no helping hand in choosing the direction of my future. There were so many questions to be answered and decisions to be made and the pressure began to settle in.
Not only this, but despite what you might expect, the stories I had heard about the working world had been around 99% negative. Tales of gruelling twelve hour shifts, monstrous bosses and the knowledge that the sunshine from my four-month summer holidays would soon be replaced by the glare of a computer screen weren’t driving my faith in the future.
After months of job searching, the choice to join ROAST was a nerve racking one, some would say risky. It was a new agency with little history and heritage as a company, yet I quickly bought into the people and instantly enjoyed the inviting atmosphere I witnessed in my interviews. I hadn’t always known I would be going in to digital marketing but in November 2015 I finally took the plunge, signed my contract and made my first mark in the working world as a ‘Roastie’.
Taking those first steps through the doors of day one on my career was daunting. No one likes change and no one likes to be the newcomer and I was about to be confronted with both. However, I didn’t have to feel new for long. After only two weeks at the company I had already lost my title as ‘the new girl’ with the arrival of two fresh faced ‘Roasties’. Immediately upon joining I was put into Stuffing house. ROAST has five houses; Cauliflower Cheese, Gravy, Mash, Stuffing and Horseradish. I couldn’t help but laugh to myself; I had been terrified of being thrown completely out of my comfort zone in my first job and instead I was being taken back to the comforts of school. Despite seeming initially like an excuse for ROAST to indulge in its name, I began to realise the importance that these houses served within the company.
In most 9-5 jobs you spend your time with your wing fenced team. Although important, and an obvious demonstration of company structure, strictly segregated teams can lead to a static company atmosphere. As cliché as it sounds, as part of a start-up you instantly feel like one of the pillars that support the company foundations.
Our houses at ROAST are designed to provide us with an opportunity to mix socially and professionally, whatever the team, whatever the discipline. Aside from the chance to bond, these competitions are the root of some of my most hilarious company memories. A dodgeball competition last October springs to mind when several staff members went out of their way to take a smack to the face in the hope of winning the golden prize of an extra day’s holiday.
I had joined the company as a Mobile Account Executive with very little idea of what I wanted out of a career. A year into ROAST things had become much more clear and an area that I felt like I had not had much exposure to, yet was of interest to me, was how ROAST as a business was being pushed forward. There were questions I wanted to know the answer to and that my role as a member of the Mobile team could not answer. With the growth of the company came a variation of new opportunities and after a year of acting as ROAST’s Mobile Account Executive I was keen on exploring a new path.
Change is an inevitable, unpredictable, yet welcome prospect in the start-up world and has become ingrained in me; once terrified of change, I now embrace it. For me, the risk of joining a start-up had paid off. Two weeks ago, I took on the role of ‘New Business and Marketing Executive’. It had taken me a year to find MY slot in the company but, as I had hoped, I’d made it into that 1% who had something positive to say about their working life. Happy Birthday ROAST.