A testimonial from our first graduate trainee
Joining Digital Butter
I started learning Photoshop when I was about 9 years old and practiced it constantly as a freelancer growing up. I graduated from University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada last May 2019 where I branched out into having a major in Visual Arts and a minor in Economics.
With a background in graphic design, I had applied mainly for graphic designer positions, where I worked as a graphic and packaging designer at an international company in Hong Kong. Upon completing my probation, I realised how important the office environment is in contributing towards my work. I felt that there were more suitable opportunities out there for me - and that’s how I landed in Digital Butter.
As I am visually-inclined, looking for job postings everyday can be a little bit mundane. Digital Butter’s bright and bold branding was the first to really catch my attention. When I was reading through the graduate trainee programme, I immediately thought it was the perfect position for me as it was offering a learning environment within the office. I’ve always felt that I learn better by doing and applying my skills in the real world, rather than completing a memory-based test which goes right in the bin afterwards.
It was a very memorable interview process because of the “Spaghetti Bolognese” experiment. Michael Ashton, the Managing Director, had asked me to quickly draft a project timeline of how I’d invite two friends over for dinner.
I had to think about planning, shopping, cooking, setting the ambience and execution. These different phases relate heavily to the project timelines I work on everyday for our clients. The next stage of the interview process was somewhat like speed-dating where I got to meet with the different departments one by one. First thing that I noticed was how they all made an effort to pronounce my name correctly! I felt extremely welcomed and tried to make some personal conversation here and there.
I would usually feel the need to be extra formal and proper during interviews. However, I chose to express my true self here. After a shared few laughs, the experience was extremely positive and I could immediately picture myself coming into this space everyday. I felt that each department was very unique and had their own characteristics and that each one had their particular areas of expertise that they would be able to mentor me with.
A few days after the interview, I received a call from Michael who offered me the position! He was very excited as well, and was ready and open to answer any questions before I signed the contract (I asked tons of questions by the way!)
My first day
One thing that was extremely prominent was how I was not left alone or neglected, especially during my first few days here at Butter. Michael welcomed me and put aside his whole day to spend time getting me settled in, getting my accounts set up, briefing me on the different processes or softwares we use. He got the team to prepare sessions with me, in which they would each share insights and knowledge of what they do each day and teach me how I can help them.
This was extremely welcoming and helpful as I felt that I was totally taken care of, especially since they all had put in time and effort to make a plan for me to get my hands dirty was very remarkable.
A typical day in the studio
We work as a team and our values really emphasize that, so we do daily standups just to catch up and see what everyone has got on for the day. The standups are great as there might be issues where the developers might be able to spot that the design team won’t - or vice versa. We enjoy putting our heads together and squeezing every detail out until we have the most efficient solutions possible.
Most of the day, we are quiet and respectful of each other’s individual work time. We like to go away and put our plans into action. I am the type of person that gets distracted easily when people are chatting around me, so it’s a very considerate space to get work done. If I ever hit a wall or get stuck, I always have support from everyone on the team. I can’t emphasize enough how much we all communicate on a daily basis.
On friday afternoons, beers are handed out and we do an end-of-week catchup. We chat about how everyone is doing, roadblocks and how to solve them, or any updates and highlights before we head home for the weekend.
Why Butter has been the best fit for me
I love seeing that my efforts actually have a purpose and what I spend my days doing are actually contributing to the world in some positive way.
Firstly, the environment. I made this clear in my interview that the environment was extremely important to me as I hadn’t found one I was comfortable with yet. Work/life balance is definitely taken into account here and I do not feel I need to worry if there is ever an emergency or something I need to take care of outside of work. I feel that as long as my work is done in due time or I make up the time when I can, we can still function properly.
Butter is really flexible and empowers everyone to do what they need to do, and allows them to come in and do the best work they can. Michael has always shown that he cares about each of us as an individual and always does what he can to make our work run as smoothly as possible, taking into consideration our well-being as first priority.
Another thing that I love is how my colleagues actually make an effort to speak about how each other are doing and are actually friends. We are constantly throwing in jokes and laughs here and there to lighten the mood within work. This makes a huge difference because it makes me feel more comfortable to approach my colleagues in times of need as well. I feel that that has made it easy for me to ask questions, even if they are silly as well. In fact, we have a Mariokart leaderboard and we play a game almost every lunchtime! It’s something that I definitely look forward to and is something that gives us a chance to have a breather during the workday as well. We all loosen up and joke around together!
It’s something that is super enjoyable and gets us moving around a little bit. I feel like it’s really good to interact with each other in positive ways outside of the seriousness of our work as well, so that our bond as a close-knit team does not fade. I feel that my work has become better as I have opened up with members of the team.
Rewards of the role
I get as much out of it as I put in. I am so lucky to be in a position where it is acceptable to want to learn and that it is okay to ask questions where I am unsure. My peers are constantly trying to push me to try new things in the direction of my goals that I’ve shared with them.
For example, one was that I wanted to become better at and more confident when speaking with clients. So, my colleagues have encouraged me to practice taking on more front-facing roles where I speak with clients on a daily basis. This helped me so much and I can really see a huge difference in my confidence between when I arrived at Butter versus now.
My journey so far
- Account Management
I started off my journey with Account Management where I shadowed the account manager and took on junior log updating tasks as I began settling into the company. The account manager then left, which gave me the opportunity to step up and work with Micharl to reorganise the structure of our management.
We really built from the ground up - the structures for our account management, project management and are constantly working on improving our process to make it more and more efficient. Michael encouraged me to make sure each member of the team was satisfied with the workflow each step of the way. This really helped me engage with everyone in the office. I got to learn about the strategy, design and development processes and really decipher how to utilise our time in the best and most efficient way for everyone.
My next stop was assisting the strategy team, mostly on support tasks. This is where I feel I grew the most as my biggest fear was speaking with clients and not being able to provide an answer to them. And now, having spent time practicing and being supported by my team, I correspond with clients everyday about requests they have or ways in which we can help add value to their business.
Here at Butter, I feel that I am supported beyond my expectations - with regular catch ups, office celebrations, different types of engagement and most importantly my voice being heard and included everyday.
- Where I am now
Currently working closest with the strategy team, I am slowly integrating into having the responsibility of working more closely with clients, providing innovative insights and solutions as well as ensuring that we are staying organised and up to date on the management side.
My advice to Butter newcomers
Get ready to step out of your comfort zone! But don’t worry, there will ALWAYS be support from the team. I have grown so much from when I started up until now and I asked my teammates if they feel like they are continuously growing in their careers now and they all said yes!