One of the things the team here at Digital Telepathy has been working towards is creating an atmosphere of organic collaboration. Although, effectively leveraging our collective talents and perspectives into strategies that will elevate our services, designs, and products is easier said than done. Deadlines, schedules, resourcing, and the desire to just “get in the zone” are all consistent and legitimate barriers to achieving that ambition. There are numerous ways to work towards overcoming those challenges, but I want to focus on one that might seem a bit ethereal at first, but really provides the foundation for collaborative progression: peer camaraderie.

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If you’ve been following DT’s publishing efforts, then you’re probably familiar with how seriously we take the idea of camaraderie: through our weekly lunches, nurturing employee dreams through betterment bonuses, throwing memorable birthday celebrations, or looking to our team for inspiring client gifts. It’s important to us not just as a business – but as people. People are what we are at the core, and who we work with – both internally and as clients. “Well of course you’re people!” you’re thinking. Yet it’s an axiom that is commonly overlooked in the business world and often requires acknowledgement.

Designer Happy Hour

Designer Happy Hour

Part of what makes our culture so unique is that we’re in tune with the notion that who we work with is a significant variable in the equation. So we’re careful about who we sign as clients – ensuring that they have a philosophical alignment with our process and culture. More importantly, however: we’re extremely deliberate about who we choose to bring onto our team. So deliberate in fact, that 33% of our new hires from the past year have come from direct employee referrals (and not just because DT offers referral bonuses if your recommended applicant gets hired — see flying money below). The people I interact with on a day-to-day basis are incredibly talented, of course, but they’re also amazingly nice people. Genuinely awesome folk that want to better the world through user experience and design.

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I had an “A-ha!” moment recently where it suddenly occurred to me that I’m rarely nervous or anxious about my job now. Sure, there are times when deadlines are impending or the creative process is doing its part to stress me out – but overall, I’m not pulling my hair out and losing sleep over work. That’s not to say that I’m not being challenged or working harder than I ever have… but there’s a difference between being motivated to excel, and that looming sense of impending doom from pushy stakeholders. I knew that part of it was that I was just happier with my professional life as a whole, but then it struck me – it’s because I work with people that I know have my back in any situation; people that actually do leave egos out of it and want me to succeed as much as themselves. Whoa.

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That realization establishes a framework where I feel empowered to participate in new things – to expand myself as an individual and as an employee. It also allows me a luxury that few employers are willing to tolerate: the ability to stretch the limits of my creative potential by not fearing the prospect of failure. To really strive for Arete. Celebrating failures as part of the path to success is built into the DT ethos, which means we’re always encouraged to try. And with an amazing support group of peers willing to work with you to accomplish almost anything – why wouldn’t you want to?

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