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May 31, 2011 // A+P Staff  //       //  Opinion

The Difference Between Excitement and Enthusiasm

I am known for my innate ability to, at times, be “slightly” over enthusiastic about things I become interested in. I think this stems from growing up in a house where my parents supported and often fed their children's and their own excitement for particular interests or hobbies. When I was in college, my Dad found magic to be an interesting hobby and a few months later he had already mastered a series of magic classes, was awarded a magician's membership from Los Angele's Magic Castle and quickly converted my sister's old bedroom into a full-fledged “magic room” with crimson colored walls, black felt card tables, Costco sized boxes of Bicycle brand playing cards and numerous posters of Houdini doing all sorts of weird handcuffed or underwater tricks. Once magic was mastered, he and my Mom found they had an interest in woodworking and approximately five months after they took their first class, they converted our garage into what is now a professional woodworking shop with top-of-the-line saws, routers and drills…where both Mom and Dad churn out desks made of cherry, functional wall shelving units, custom cabinets, cutting boards, pens, and just about anything else you can think of that can be made out of dead trees. While the garage take-over can be a bit frustrating, forcing me to park in the street when I visit the parental units, having your own private carpenter on hand sure beats spending hours trying to decode the cryptic instruction manuals that come with a newly purchased particle-board furniture set from IKEA.

While an outsider might say that our family has the tendency to go a bit overboard, taking things to the extreme and getting overly excited, I look at it in a different way. To me, excitement is something that is short-lived that can fade the first time a challenge is experienced. Enthusiasm, on the other hand, is about possessing the energy, drive and stamina to keep forging ahead and doing whatever it takes to master a task, even when faced with the most daunting obstacles.

My parents' enthusiasm for work, life and hobbies seeped into me at an early age and I learned the valuable lesson that you should always pursue your passions and never let obstacles get in the way of what you want to accomplish. This mantra of sorts has stayed with me throughout my life and helped guide me down the career path that I have been on for the past eight years. Few people can actually say that they're enthusiastic about going to work every day, but I am. I'm fortunate enough to work in a place where everyone around me is as well and one of the core values of our company is actually “Be Enthusiastic.”

I'd be lying if I said that at first, I didn't find it a bit odd to work in an environment like this, where every single person at Allison & Partners actually looks forward to coming into work (seriously they do, it's kind of Twilight Zone-like, but in a really good way). This was one of the first things that stood out to me about Allison & Partners when I started here. I remember that by the end of my first week, I already had a grasp on everyone's specialized practice area: Alejandro Grau was deeply ingrained in technology, Eddie Garcia loved entertainment, Dawn Wilcox and Scott Pansky were the CSR gurus, Larry Krutchik lived for public policy…and so on and so forth. I didn't come to find these things out because someone gave me the rundown on the staff; I found them out because the energy and passion for these practice areas was seeping out of them, and when they talked about their projects and what their clients were doing, their faces lit up.

This work environment is a major departure from some of the companies I've worked for in the past, where there had always been a fairly large number of people who had little interest in the job they were doing and weren't invested in the company they worked for, but not here. When I sat down to think about why this was, I realized it's because A&P employees are devoting their time, energy and expertise to things that they love to do and it shows. Enthusiasm is fostered here in many ways, with employees being encouraged to create their own career paths and work on accounts that they find to be meaningful and interesting. Whether it's social responsibility, technology, lifestyle, corporate, or whatever you're into, our managers make the effort to put you on accounts you're excited about and let you shine. They understand that if work is something you love, the lines between work and play will begin to blur because when you love what you do, it's easier to devote more time and energy to accomplishing your goals and achieving the best results.

In conclusion, I hope you take away two things from this post: 1.) You don't judge me for my parents' love of odd hobbies, and more importantly 2.) You enthusiastically and openly pursue your passions because it's the only way to find true fulfillment.

-- Jennie Bragalone

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