What Carrot Taught Meby Kim David
It doesn’t take a lot of time to learn at Carrot. It takes an open mind and ears to listen to those around you. In my 1 year and 11 months of transitioning from a mute intern to an ambitious analyst to an opinionated strategist, I can say that Carrot’s taught me a thing or two. Here’s five:
1. No matter what your job is, the better you know yourself, the better you’ll be at what you do.
Yes, Carrot is a professional weirdo’s wonderland. Undeniable fact. But many people, including myself, start at Carrot with their freak flag flying at maybe only quarter-mast. What’s beautiful about the environment that Carrot fosters is just how often you are challenged by the people around you to step outside of your box. Doing this, and doing it often, is the best way to get to know yourself better and know that you should be proud of who you are and never try to be anyone different.
Going for every opportunity and getting to know everyone here is the best way to figure out what you do and don’t like, what you’re good and not so great at, and which circumstances you best respond to. What’s unique about doing this at Carrot though is that these experiences go way way way beyond the professional realm. No way in hell would I ever imagine I would have hula-hooped in the dark, in front of the entire company, in the middle of the woods - twice! But I did, and everyone here embraced me for it, and I learned that I actually really enjoyed doing it.
You know what’s great about understanding yourself better? You become more confident! Everybody wins. In all seriousness, my time at Carrot has helped me become a better version of myself. To me that means being extremely confident in who I am and the choices that I make. I think that this has directly impacted the quality of my work. Lucky me because I’m gonna need all the lessons learned on my next adventure!
2. Keep it real.
One of the best things about Carrot is how comfortable everyone is with each other. This makes it really easy to express yourself honestly. It’s not about being overly cautious about feelings or egos. It’s just about doing great work in the best way possible. With the confidence I’ve gained, I’ve become more comfortable with standing by some of my most important values, such as keeping it 100 as much as possible.
There’s truly no reason to not give the people around you your most honest opinion (when warranted and valid, of course), especially if those people are the same people you’re getting shwasted with on the weekends, going on vacation with, and crying in the bathroom with! That’s your fam, there’s no reason why you can’t tell them what you really think.
3. Chill - the f*ck - out.
Being honest can be empowering. Hey, I mean, sometimes it gives me a real rush. But that feeling should never get the best of us. I’ve learned that while I love my job and I’m really passionate about what I do, it’s not between life and death, it’s definitely not rocket science, and it won’t be the end of the world if something goes awry.
There have been so many times when just looking forward amidst literally (as in, exactly) 10 different projects all happening at the same time and simply getting things done has resulted in my best work. Carrot is a fast-paced place and I have gotten A LOT done in my short time here, but I would not have accomplished nearly as much if I spent my time here sweatin’ things. I’ve learned that calming the f*ck down is not only great for your blood pressure and overall health, but it’s great for those around you as well! If you’re not freaking out, everyone else will learn to chill out too and everyone will be more likely to get that paper and thus have more time to party and bullshit.
4. You’re part of something bigger.
The part about Carrot that’s probably impacted me the most is the company’s values: hustle, team, and adventure. I think the EVP of Marriott International explains the importance of this concept well: “...if you want to succeed, you need to forget about yourself and forget about advancement. Instead, keep your focus on the company you’re working for.”
At Carrot, I feel really committed to the company’s values. It’s the idea that I represent Carrot and I need to hustle or else why am I here? I’m a part of this community, if I don’t value a sense of team and do my best to foster that, then why am I here? If I don’t embrace adventure when it’s so uniquely ever-present, then I should make room for someone who will value what’s special about this place.
Understanding that these things are important to this community and the individuals who make up this environment is critical. At a place like Carrot, I think it can be the most important. That’s because everyone benefits from this. When that understanding happens, everyone performs better and they’ll be happier. We all know doing better work makes it more likely to get more money from our client$.
5. Trust each other.
We’re all busy, all the time. But you should never underestimate the power of relationships. The thing is, fostering them takes time. It’s totally worth stepping out for an hour and having lunch with your co-workers, or simply listening when someone wants to open up about problems they’re having, or spending 30 minutes discussing cheese because it’s important. The better you get to know the people around you, the more likely you are to trust their judgment – especially when the people around you are Carrots.
I think if anything, I’ve seen how much more people trust me by opening myself up to genuine relationships here. Not only have I made lifelong friendships but I’ve been able to get more out of the projects I’ve worked on because of the relationships I’ve formed with the people working with me.
Some might attribute how much I’ve learned and grown at Carrot to my age, but I think you can ask anyone who’s moved on to other adventures and they’d probably agree - it’s all about how much you allow yourself to give to this organization and open up yourself enough to allow others to gain from you as well.
It’s going to be different, hard, and sad not being around this family every day but I am so excited that I get to take everything that I’ve learned at Carrot to my new home and beyond.
With hustle, team, and a ton of adventure, peace out.