2 Weeks In and Still Learnin'

I’ve used the phrase “dip my toes” a few times when I’m trying something out for the first time as if my toes have a good sense as to what the rest of me is going to feel. I don’t know about you but my toes can certainly handle colder water than some other parts of me! 


In this case and at this point in my career, there’s no reason I should be so tentative when it comes to learning new things. I’m confident in what I know and I know I need to always be learning more. I’m sure you can relate because, at some point in your life, you too had to adapt to a new role, team, rules, environment, and processes. So when Ben (my new boss) asked, “Hey, would you be interested in writing a little about joining the team?” In which I replied with a, “Heck yeah!”

Here’s what I’m workin’ with...

♦ Documentation = Navigation

During my first week, I was introduced to “Cascade University.” When I first heard the words “Cascade University,” I assumed it was a nifty site they had created for onboarding new staff. It would include video modules with short quizzes and a certificate upon completion. Truth be told, it was none of those things. It didn’t need to be. Instead, it was a carefully written Google Doc loaded with hyperlinked documents and templates. The document(s) stepped me carefully through all planning that goes on behind the scenes for our clients. That’s all it took to help me navigate through the beginning yet detailed processes. Mind you, this is in addition to a healthy folder of other Google Docs & templates that are easy to search and copy. I’ve experienced some onboarding in my day, and this was a prime example of the no-nonsense approach to detailed work and services provided by the team at Cascade.

Week One… Check.


♦ Digital & Physical Settings

I feel like I’ve been fairly comfortable in all my work environments but I’d have to say, my favorite by far is working remotely. My stress-free commute consists of the walk from my coffee machine down the hall to my office. I don’t have to wear socks. For that matter, Zoom attendees will never know if I’m wearing pants either. That isn’t to say that remote work doesn’t have its own challenges. The distractions are MANY! Unless you are intentional and plan ahead, the lines between work and home life begin to blur quickly. 

Having a workspace or office is only the start. I use a small table I’ve had for about 20 years. I try to keep it stocked with only the minimum of work-related needs; gum, pen, notebook, coffee, and all the charging cables I’ll need. A comfortable chair is a must because it gets really hard to focus when you’re butt’s falling asleep. The digital tools we use at Cascade help us communicate, prioritize, organize, strategize, and monetize our work. Tools like, Slack, Google, and even custom tools the team made for ourselves. 


♦ Culture(d)

I’ve always thought company culture should be considered as part of a compensation package. For example: If a company accepts a culture of dictatorship, anxiety over job security, and micromanagement than you couldn’t pay me enough. Whereas, a wholesomely honest company that promotes healthy work/life balance and encourages open communication, while celebrating fantastic work together… well that company can hire me at a discount!

Over the last couple of weeks at Cascade, I’ve spend a number of hours on calls with the team. Even more so with Ben as I’m further getting to know how Cascade works. Hearing first hand about their tenure here has been comforting, to say the least. It’s not lip service and this isn’t a puff piece. I admit, no organization is perfect, but it’s very apparent that this team cares about one another and about each client. That kind of work culture is something that I can get behind. 

Quick Timeline: Michael started 2009 - Developer, Christi joined in 2005 - Controller, Paul in 2003 - Developer, and Stephen - Director of Technology & Ben - Founder & GM were here from the beginning in 2001. And now there’s me - Project Manager, 2 weeks in.

Week Two… Check.


♦ The Future... Future, Future, Future.

I’m in awe seeing where Cascade has been and how it started. But selfishly, I’m a little more interested in its future! What are we capable of and how can I help? I’m excited to see where Cascade will go as it continues to flex its web development muscles with some added design and branding experience. 

Future… Let’s go!!


Simon Hartt