By Michelle Drewek, Digital Media Manager, Lessiter Media
When I accepted my job offer in December of 2011, I knew I’d be wearing more hats than just what the job description detailed. But little did I know then that those hats would evolve to include landscaper, green thumb, window insulator and food sorter. To be clear, these weren’t projects around Frank’s house; these were volunteer activities I participated in during our quarterly Community Outreach events over the years. To say I’ve gotten my fair share of interesting stories is an understatement. The events themselves provide a unique flavor on their own, but when you add in a few hours of time with your co-workers outside of the office, you learn far more than any “Two Truths and a Lie” can offer. The one piece of advice I would give anyone looking to find more enjoyment in their work is to learn more about the people they work with. Invest time outside of the business and you’ll reap the benefits within the business many times over.
These Community Outreach events have never been expected of me as an employee of Lessiter Media, but rather, they’ve been opportunities for me to take the time I am expected to give the company and extend it to those who need it. I value my time. If I am giving you my time, take that as a compliment. It’s the form of currency I take stock in. And because of this, it is also something that I embrace: being able to give to those who need it.
Each volunteer activity I’ve taken part in has been memorable in its own way, but there is one in particular that stuck with me more than any other. It starts back with the time we first volunteered at Bean Head Farm in September of 2016. We helped them with their fall harvest, picking 505 pounds worth of produce in the few hours we were there, which immediately made its way to the Waukesha Food Pantry. There was a sense of accomplishment knowing that we were helping our neighboring town, but what really hit home was the second time we helped Bean Head Farm. This time it was March of 2017 and we were there for spring planting — 11,734 plants that day to be exact! What made this outing particularly noteworthy for me was that I was seeing the beginning of the end product. Just a few months prior we were picking crops that we were now planting. With each plant we were harvesting or picking, we were initiating a chain in the cycle of the Bean Head Farm mission. There’s something powerful about being part of something that is greater than yourself, and that day truly put it into perspective for me.
I have a lot going on at work, and those service days are no exception; plenty of deadlines, meetings and my backlog of to-dos that I’ve since humorously renamed “Maybe Someday.” While I’ve come close to backing out when the iron was hot at the office, I’ve since come to understand just how valuable those few hours are to the number of missions we’ve helped serve. Giving our time extends their outreach with an extra set of hands. It moves the clock forward for someone awaiting aid for things we may take for granted. By saying “I don’t have time,” I would have been taking away from someone who already doesn’t have much to give.
I’d like to challenge each of us to eliminate that 4-word phrase from our vocabulary. When the opportunity arises to help one another, our family, our friends, our community and beyond, let’s embrace the chance to give of our time.