Event emphasizes importance of work environment in first job

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    Students wanting to land their first job need to look beyond the paycheck and office locale and first consider if they’ll be happy.

    That was the message Wednesday night at a forum conducted by Ann Louden, director of TCU’s Center for Connection Culture, and Michael Stallard, co-founder of E Pluribus Partners, a consulting firm that specializes in leadership development and building positive work culture.

    The pair advised students on finding the type of work culture that would fit them best.

    Louden provided several different aspects of a workplace and had students raise their hand for the one that was most important to them.

    The feedback from students tonight revealed work environment was the most important as far as what could help them thrive in their future job.

    Emily Ricks, a junior marketing and strategic communication double major, said she knows the exact type of work environment that would help her thrive.

    “I definitely want a culture that I feel like I can approach people higher up in the organization to have my work be recognized,” Ricks said. “This is what would motivate me to do best because I’m a hard worker.”

    According to Stallard, a work environment affects one’s health, wellness and productivity.

    “You’re more secure in a homeostasis and a secure environment,” Stallard said. “It affects your happiness and health.

    “If you’re in an unhealthy environment, your body starts to break down in a way to where you don’t feel well and you’re more susceptible to disease.”

    Louden then shared how she discovered what she didn’t want in a workplace environment from her own personal experiences.

    “My first boss didn’t appreciate my talents and I felt like I spent a year proving myself to him,” Louden said. “I wish I could have reflected more upon what the work environment was like at the time.”

    Ricks also said she enjoyed hearing advice and real stories from successful individuals such as Louden and Stallard.

    “It’s nice to hear how successful people have stayed focused on the important things like happiness and not just working for working.” Ricks said.

    The speech concluded with Pharrell Williams’ music video of the song, “Happy,” of which Louden then told students, “this is what we want you all to be.”