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SEM work is hard, and it's worth it

Published: July 3, 2012

Author: Hillary Read

You planted the damn things. Might as well smell them once in a while.
Pam Paradiso, our Director of Operations, does everything from payroll to hiring to coordinating HR stuff to stocking our kitchen to rolling up her sleeves and setting up new (or expanded) offices. She’s pretty much the behind-the-scenes soul/den mother of the company; a few of us were joking the other day that, with her arm’s-length list of things to do, the fastest way to get her attention is to do something demonstrably unhealthy (shake out your cramping hands, and a new ergonomic keyboard will magically appear on your desk the next day).
Pam brings in no revenue for PPC Associates (nor do I). That’s up to our rock-star account management and production teams, who have been putting their shoulders (and big brains) to the wheel to grow revenue and ROI for our swelling client ranks since 2008.
But she works her rear end off. She takes the success of the company personally, as we all do. You know she’s doing a good job because our questions get answered, our tummies get full, we get our checks, and the roof (symbolic or otherwise) never caves in. But unlike the accounts/production folks, who see the fruits of their labor on every client report, there’s no real metric to prove her value.
So when we got our quarterly update the other day, the big picture of our revenue and our client retention and our growth trend, and the update was rosy enough to make you smile and feel proud to work where you work, the reaction I most wanted to see was Pam’s. (Since I worked from home that day, a high-octane Skype chat had to suffice.)
We agreed on the following: updates like this one are a wonderful zoom-out from the day-to-day engagement of a job — or, more specifically, a calling, which is to say a job you really, truly care about. A job whose details you sweat. A job where you have 1,000 balls in the air and agonize about the one that might drop and let the team down.
I’m pretty sure all SEMs buried in spreadsheets, checking their accounts on Friday evenings and Sunday mornings, crossing their eyes to pore through reams of numbers for the insights to unlock their accounts’ potential, can relate to this one. There are a ton of smart, dedicated folks in our industry (heyo, #ppcchat crew) who deserve to take a nice, warm soak in good news once in a while. So, for all of us — the SEMs and the people who support them — I’m raising an extra-large cup of very strong Tuesday coffee in a toast. We do good work. We make companies some very real money. Let’s remember that once in a while.
Happy (almost 4th), hard-working colleagues…here’s to a mid-week vacation.
Hillary Read, Marketing Manager

1 S Wacker Drive
Suite 2250

Chicago, IL 60606(650) 539-4124


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