My Journey from Most Junior Team Member to Co-Owner… and What Others Can Learn

Posted on May 6, 2021

By Julie Tangen

Job-hopping has become common in the 21st century. According to the latest federal statistics, the median number of years that workers have been with their current employer is only 4.1.

People tend to move around a lot for a bunch of reasons: the internet’s role as an employer-employee “dating platform,” the geographic-boundary-stripping effect of remote work, the emergence of the gig economy, and simply the fact that many companies and employees view each other with greater fungibility than they used to.

I’m different. I joined Offleash as an account coordinator, the most junior position in the company, in 2000. A gallon of gas cost $1.26, Eminem’s “The Marshall Mather LP” sold millions, and the dot.com bubble reached its peak and then burst.

Twenty-one years later, in February of this year, my partner Robin Bulanti and I announced our purchase of the company from founder Joanna Kulesa. 

I’ve been doing a great deal of thinking about all that time in between, the lessons I learned about longevity and what a beautiful thing it is when you can grow your career and be happy and do great things at one company.

Did I mention that Offleash is the only company I’ve ever worked for?

Here are some questions I’d advise others to think about in examining whether spending a long time at the same firm is right for them.

  • Does my job have the baseline qualities every employee needs? Advancement? Security? Good pay and benefits? 
  • Am I learning more about my craft each day and feel like I’m truly growing as a professional? 
  • Do I like or even love the company’s culture?
  • Do I feel as though my influence within the organization is growing and I’m playing an important role in both its day-to-day business and its future? 
  • Every company’s mission starts with delighting customers. Do I believe the company is all in on that?

During my 21 years with Offleash, I’d ask myself these questions from time to time. Any professional would. And the answers kept coming back “yes.”

Now as co-owner, I imagine our employees asking themselves these same things. And I want their answers to be like mine. 

Sure, there will always be people who leave for new opportunities – that’s a given and it’s great! – but I want everyone to always feel that they are able to thrive without going somewhere else.

Everyone in corporate leadership positions knows that loyal, long-term, constantly-committed-to-the-mission employees are worth their weight in gold. Providing an amazing work environment, as Joanna did all those years and which Robin and I are committed to carrying forward, makes a company stronger, plain and simple.

Even in an age when people hopscotch among jobs, you can build a company where people want to build their careers forever. What is cooler than that?

As partner and co-owner of Offleash, Julie focuses on both business development and working with clients on high level messaging/story building, PR strategy and program execution across a wide array of technology areas. Contact Julie here