The Publitek Secondment Program enables a team member from one of our global locations to spend time in another to learn more about our business, our clients – and themselves.
We interviewed Catriona Corrigan, an Account Executive based in the UK, about her experiences of a two-week secondment to our US office in Portland, Oregon.
How long have you worked at Publitek?
I’ve been with the company for just over a year.
How did you learn about the secondment scheme?
During the job interview. The topic of travelling for work came up and I asked if Publitek had any other offices, and whether the role involved opportunities to visit them or travel to tradeshows. When I was told about the secondment program, I knew I would apply if I got the role.
Why did you want to go on secondment?
I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn more about how the company operates and how our individual work contributes to an overarching goal.
Why did you choose a secondment to Publitek North America?
I’d already worked in Europe as part of the Erasmus scheme when at university, so I thought it would be good to experience the cultural differences in the US. Also, Publitek teams work across different geographies to deliver the best service for our clients. I hadn’t yet worked with any of the US team, and thought secondment would be a good way to get to know more people in the company.
What were your expectations regarding secondment?
I really wasn’t sure. A part of me was expecting the American working culture we all hear about, of employees being worked into the ground and a very strict environment. In reality, it was the complete opposite. It was very relaxed and there was lots of fun in the office. Everyone was so nice and welcoming and really made an effort to show me the best of Portland, and Publitek.
What new technologies, processes, or industry practices did you learn about on secondment, and how are you applying them to your role at home?
The US team do a weekly ‘stand up’ meeting where they go over the status of every client to give an update on what’s going on, what’s coming up, etc. Everyone in the team gives an overview of what they’re working on that week. They rate their workload from 1-5 (5 being at or over capacity) and people who have time available will offer to give them a hand to balance out the workload. I think it’s a great idea, which can be applied at office level, or at team level on the larger accounts where there’s always a lot going on.
What are the three most important things you have learned?
- Push yourself: It’s so easy to sit alone after the workday is done or keep to yourself in the office. Secondment made me get out and experience the world on my own.
- Having friendships at work makes your work life a thousand times better.
- Your skills are unique and valuable. We are all talented in our own ways and simply putting your hand up to say ‘I know how to do that’ can make all the difference.
What advice would you give to a colleague considering secondment?
I would advise anyone who was thinking about applying for secondment to go for it! I feel so lucky that I had the opportunity.
How would you describe the overall impact of the secondment on your career progression and future opportunities within the company?
Secondment gave me a lot of insight into Publitek. I learned how we work together to achieve our goals, how being successful with clients in one location can generate business for other parts of the company, and the importance of building good relationships with clients and colleagues. Having got to know the US team and what they all do, I have a better support network and know who to ask when I need help. Overall, secondment has made me feel like part of the team and far more motivated in my role.