In today’s show, Meghan gets to know Garrett Jackson, our freshly minted Manager of Digital Services. Garrett discusses his first job (as a berry picker), shares some horror stories from working at Hollywood Video and describes his perfect day.
Read the transcript:
So Garrett, tell us a little bit about kind of– well, maybe we should start going way back. Can you talk to us a little bit about your first job? The first job that you were paid for.
Oh. Like, the very, very first job.
And maybe how old you are. Were.
OK. Well, my very first job I ever had was berry picking, if we’re going all the back.
So it was like 13 or 14, and we went and spent the summers out picking blackberries with big buckets, and going from field to field and doing that. And yeah, that was kind of like the first thing. And oddly enough, it turned out to be one of my favorite jobs, which people got really offended by later in my career when I would say, yeah, I just wish I was berry picking again. But it was nice, because I could kind of just go out, be by myself, be out in nature for half a day, and be able to be productive.
It also gave me time to just sit around and listen to music, which is, to this day, between music and podcasts, just about what I love to do to be productive and be able to listen to things while I’m doing it.
Got you. So how are you paid? Are you paid by the bucket or by weight, or how is a berry picker paid?
Yeah, they’re paid by, like, the size of the bucket and the weight of it. If we would fill, like, a flat of raspberries, we would get paid. But again, it’s really, really small wages that you’re getting.
Give us some examples of what– like what one five gallon bucket– well, five gallons. It seems like if you had a five gallon bucket of blackberries, the berries on the bottom would be getting squished, right?
Yea, and then they do. But they just kind of skim that out of the bottom, and you don’t really think about that when you’re picking them. So yeah, it was like you’d have a five gallon bucket bucket. You’d try to fill it as much as possible. And it would be like, I think like $11 per bucket, and it would take you two hours to pick that many berries. At least for me. I might have just been a really slow berry picker.
If you were bad at berry picking, what would be the qualifications of a bad berry picker?
A person who eats more berries than they put in the bucket I think is kind of the definition there.
There’s not like– are there people who, like, they put a lot of stems and debris?
A person who eats more berries than they put in the bucket I think is kind of the definition there. I don’t think they get too picky about that. They’re like, I’m sorry. You have one too many caterpillars in your bucket.
So there weren’t exactly a lot of qualifications for it. It was basically whichever kids were bored and had a little bit of time, and wanted to make a couple dollars to put towards a video game or a CD or something, which is why I was out there is just to go and be able to have a little bit of money to play around with.
Yeah. Yeah, that makes sense. See, when I took my kids berry picking, one of the things that really bothers me is a ton of stems. And I have to try to get over that, because I feel like if you’re going to pick the berry, and you’re going to pay by the weight, I don’t want to pay for all this junk that’s going to be that’s not actually edible.
So do you reject your kids’ buckets when they show it to you? You’re like, I’m sorry. You have to go back and start this over again.
I will pull out the appropriate, yes, articles that are in the bucket. Yeah.
It’s smart, though. I mean, you don’t want to pay for something you’re not actually going to eat.
Yeah, that’s true. That’s true. So yeah.
I admire that a lot.
Thank you. So berry picking, and then what about– tell us a little bit about what you went to school for and your school experience, and kind of what you studied and your first real job.
Yeah So I went to Brigham Young University in Utah. And I kind of entered into school not really knowing what I wanted to do
Nobody does, right?
Yeah, and I think that’s kind of an exciting time, too. You’re just figuring out who you are. And I think the first year it was just really a lot of testing different things. I took some courses in music, took some courses in symbolism, especially religious symbolism, did a lot of that. And then I also took some communication courses. My mom’s worked in advertising her whole life, and so she had always kind of mentioned, yeah, you might want to take a look at this. I had shadowed her. She’s actually a food stylist for agencies in Seattle.
Yeah. She worked with, like, Skippers and Costco, basically anything that you see that looks really good, and then you get it and it doesn’t look very good.
Yeah, that’s her.
That’s my mom’s fault. She does that with dinner too. It’s really awesome. Makes it look really good, and then you’re like, oh, no, this is not great.
This isn’t as good as it looks.
No. Actually, that’s not true. I shouldn’t say that. She’ll feel really bad about that. Her food’s delicious. But, yeah. It was kind of cool to be able to be on set with her while she was shooting commercials and prepping the food. Like, you don’t realize things like a bowl of cereal, instead of using milk, they’re putting glue into it. But honestly, my first reaction about going into the marketing world was I didn’t really feel like it was very true myself. I didn’t really want to be selling things. I didn’t want to be a salesman.
But it was interesting. As my career kind of continued to go on in school, I realized that I love artwork, I love music, I love good communication and people telling good stories. And advertising just kind of lended itself to that.
So it was a way for me to combine all that, and a way where I could still make a living. And so I joined BYU’s advertising program. It’s a really competitive program. I don’t think people outside of the school would even know this, but a lot of the students go on to work for major agencies. We had Chiat-Day and Leo Burnett and Ogilvy to our campus fairly regularly to come out and visit with us. We did projects alongside some of those agencies too.
So it was a great program, and it really gave me the opportunity to just do whatever I wanted. I worked as a graphic designer with the team, worked as a copywriter at different times, and when I couldn’t make up my mind on which direction I wanted to go, I just decided to go into advertising management. And so that’s kind of how I ended up picking my major and kind of my direction and my career.
Very interesting. So first job out of college?
First job out of college was– actually in college I was working for the entire time. Like, about three years there I worked for BYU Independent Study, which it’s kind of the job that I carried through even after school for a little bit. BYU Independent Study, they do online courses for high school students and university students. So it’s just basically like any online course you could take. If there was a thing you were interested in, like a history course, you could take it online.
So I got hired as an advertising intern. And a couple months later, they decided to get rid of it as an intern position and make it into a full position. So it was advertising assistant. And then basically I did anything that they needed. They didn’t have a graphic designer on staff to do the advertising, so I did all the graphic design. They didn’t have a copywriter, so I did all the copyrighting. And I have digital, so I did digital social media. They were doing sports promotions, but nobody was kind of maintaining the events, so I helped get those kind of started and running. Managed the photo shoots, managed everything that basically they needed to deliver on their advertising. So it was really cool experience, because it just gave me a lot of different types of experiences.
Sure. Yeah. Sometimes I think when you’re working in those smaller, like, more short-staffed environments, that exposure that you get to a whole bunch of different projects might seem kind of frustrating at the time, but it’s really, really valuable.
Well, I think it was helpful for me because, like I said, I didn’t really know where I wanted to end up. And even when I was in the advertising program, I still didn’t have an idea. I wasn’t a good graphic designer. I was an OK graphic designer. I wasn’t a great copywriter. But I wanted to be those things. But I figured that my abilities would probably better served in helping people that really shine at that and be able to tackle big projects.
Sure. So moving on from the internship that turned into a non internship, what happened next?
So afterwards, I didn’t really want to be in Utah any longer. No offense to Utah, but complete offense to Utah. I was really excited move back to the Northwest.
Because you have family here?
Yeah. Yeah. All my family’s up in the Northwest. I’m born and raised up here like in a little cow town in the middle of nowhere. And I missed that. I missed being up here. I missed the rain. So we moved up to Bellevue, so that’s just outside of Seattle. And I got a job up there with a company called Guidant Financial. They’re a company that specializes in 401(k) rollovers. Which to me, it was something I had never even encountered before.
But basically, people who have been saving for their retirement their whole lives, they decide, hey, I want to take this money and actually would like to start a business with it rather than just letting it sit as a retirement account. So they’re able to roll that over into a business and be able to start a business. So it was really exciting to be part of these people who are taking their destiny into their own hands. They were further on in their careers and deciding to start a business.
What was your specific role? How did you assist those people?
So again, it was basically the same kind of thing. I was a marketing specialist, which I love these titles because it really just means, like, whatever we need done, we’re going to stick you onto that project. So, yeah. I did copyrighting, I did their graphic design, I managed one of their blogs. And just helped with all the lead generation. I did a lot of digital marketing with them. So email drip campaigns, email marketing in general, and then just also making sure all of our marketing systems spoke to each other.
So that was basically my job there, was just to help this team. There was only three of us. Actually, four of us on the marketing team, and they were running, basically, the whole marketing for this business that entirely relied on digital.
That’s where we spent all our time. Yeah.
What about your worst job? Would that be the berry pick– no, you said the berry picking was your best job.
Berry picking was really good. My worst job was Hollywood Video. I think I told you about this a little bit the other day.
Was it that just the popcorn was stale?
Well, yeah. Well, the whole building just smelled like stale popcorn. And that really starts to get to you. Like, to the point where you just don’t want to eat popcorn anymore.
Yeah. What’s the typical day– well, actually, what was your shift hours at Hollywood Video? Because I would imagine that most people– what’s prime time for video rental?
It’s like in the evening.
Yeah. OK, that’s what I was going to guess.
Probably about like 5 o’clock until the building closes. Pretty much you’re just nonstop helping people.
What was your shift?
It depended. It kind of bounced back and forth. So I did morning shift and evening shift.
Which one did you like better?
I liked the morning because I’m a little–
Didn’t do anything?
Well, yeah. I didn’t have to do anything. Thanks, Megan.
But also I had more time to be able to organize things and put movies back in the right place, which for someone like me, that kind of organizational stuff is actually really relaxing.
What would an annoying customer be like at Hollywood Video? Like, tell us about a time that you had a customer come in and you were like, oh, this is my least favorite type of person to deal with.
Yeah. So this sounds really mean, because now I have a wife and kids. But it was usually the soccer moms. And it was crazy, like, the way that people would react to this. Like, telling people that they had a late fee was like telling them that I had found this really good blackmail on them. Like, they felt really offended. I remember this one lady, she came in. Her kids obviously were running all over the place. She was trying to keep them under control. And so I understand that feeling now.
But she comes up. She’s like, I don’t have any late fees. I’m sorry. I’m like, well, on the computer it’s telling me you’ve got, like, three movies that were checked out and they were never returned. And she was just like, I’m sorry, I had never rented those movies. And she just wouldn’t stop. Like, she wouldn’t budge. And I’m like, I can’t rent these to you until the late fees are done. And then she just started, like, yelling. Like, as loud as she could, and the kids were freaking out. And then eventually my manager comes over. He’s like, I’m sorry, ma’am. We’ll just clear that for you, and they just cleared it. So there you go. If movie rental companies are still around, that’s the secret.
The freak out? Interesting.
Yeah. And do it to a younger employee that doesn’t know what they’re doing. They’ll panic like I did and be like, manager, help!
But, yeah. That used to drive me nuts. And then people that would return DVDs in the wrong case.
Oh, yeah. I can see that bothering you.
That would happen all the time. And so we’d get, like, copies of Marley and Me that people don’t want, and they’d keep the nice movie.
So how do you track that–
Not that Marley and Me is the worst movie in the world, but it’s the first one I could think of because we got a lot of that back.
Yep. Yep. Did you ever have people upset when they would come in with their mind set on renting a specific movie, and that movie wasn’t available? Did you do holds?
Yeah, we did holds. The crazy thing to me is just how broken that whole system was. And I guess I can say this too because Hollywood Video’s not exactly thriving right now either. There was so much room for error when a movie was returned. If one of the employees forgot to scan one in, it would charge you late fees for months until it was checked back in. We would find that all the time. I mean, all the time.
That were actually hitting people’s credit cards?
Yeah. And so, you know, it was one of those things that when I saw the companies kind of fall apart with Redbox coming out and Netflix taking over that, it was kind of like this, yes moment. Like, yeah. Finally got back at them.
And no more late fees for people that didn’t deserve it, which is nice too.
Yeah. Yeah. What about your dream job? And I know that this might be a little bit of an awkward question because you are at work right now.
Yeah. That’s a great question. I don’t think I still have ever figured out what I want to do with my life. I think talking to my parents though, it sounds like that’s kind of everyone’s journey.
I think there’s very few people that are just suddenly like, oh yeah. This is what I’m going to do, and then actually go and do it. And I think it’s amazing that people do that. I don’t know I’m really excited about my new rule and this company because I think my skill set is entirely based on organizing things and looking at strategy and kind of taking broken processes and making things a lot better. That’s my favorite thing to do. It’s what I do at home. Like, I realize that if we don’t put the dishes away right after they’re clean, then stuff starts piling up and then we need to get this done. And it drives my wife nuts because I’m like, hey Rachel, I just figured out where our process is breaking down. Let’s talk about it and figure out how we can make this work.
Oh, that does sound really annoying.
I’m, like, the worst husband in the world now.
But it’s just me deciding, like, OK. Well, I’ll get up every morning and I’ll clear out the dishes, and then I’ll take the garbage out so that way– and I like to be that way with everything. I think the only reason I’ve had any sort of success here in this company is because of looking at those processes and trying to figure out solutions for it, and looking at opportunities that weren’t really there at first, and being able to realize that they’re there and take advantage of those.
Whatever that looks like as a career, sure. Yeah. That’s what I want to do, and I think this new role is going to be a lot of that, just looking at things. Are we being effective? How could we be more effective?
We’ve got an amazing team, so to be part of an amazing team that’s really driven and motivated, it’s really exciting, and to be able to make something really cool with all of them.
Oh, I have no doubt that you’ll be incredibly successful.
Aw, shucks. Thanks.
You’re welcome. Especially because it sounds like just the very nature of the job aligns really closely with the way that your mind naturally works. Right? And I think that anytime you’re operating inside of a very comfortable operating structure, if that makes any sense, then you’re going to be very successful, because you’re not questioning or– let’s see if I can find a better way of phrasing that. But you’re just operating in a comfortable environment, and you’re not kind of looking outside of that environment for maybe, what should I be doing? What you should be doing comes very natural, right? And I think that’s a really good thing for you in this job, and that the company stands to really benefit and profit from you, which is a wonderful thing.
Well, I hope so. I think this will be good. I feel like this is going to align really well with all of that too.
When you first started working at Audigy three and a half years ago?
Yeah, just about three years ago.
Three years ago, OK. You were a marketing coordinator.
Yeah. I started as a marketing coordinator. Like I had mentioned, I was working up in Bellevue, and even though that company was really great, I just realized that I wasn’t really growing. I was doing a lot more of what I had kind of done before. And came and interviewed down here. My wife is originally from Vancouver and had been wanting to move down here to be by family. So we kind of took a gamble. I left my job and we moved down here.
Just for this job?
Well, yeah. I had just been applying for jobs. And I’d come down, interviewed with the team here at Audigy. And it was kind of a weird experience. I’m sure anyone who’s been through the Audigy interview process, like, you kind of feel like everyone’s drinking this amazing Kool-Aid that you just haven’t really tasted yet.
Elaborate on that a little bit. Tell us about–
Well, you know, like so I met with Michelle Mannion and a couple other people. I think Lindsay Ash was there too. And they were just so excited about, let me tell you all about Audigy and what we do. And it was almost like being on one of those like Disneyland rides where there’s, like, an animatronic telling you about how great America is. And it felt a little weird at first. And so after–
Did you believe it, or were you skeptical?
Well, I was skeptical. I think I’m very much a skeptic about everything in general. So to come into that and have everyone tell me about how amazing this is and once you join us, it’s going to be great, and it was a little weird. So I kind of took a step back from that. But to see how passionate people were about what they were doing, I hadn’t seen that anywhere else. Everyone else at my other companies was doing a job, and they were doing a good job of it. But they weren’t necessarily, like, engaged and enthralled with what they were doing day to day.
And when I joined as a marketing coordinator, I wasn’t exactly sure where it would lead. But one of the things that I was really excited about just from the interview process, which is how much I knew this company was going to be growing and expanding, and to be part of that would give me opportunities to be able to grow as a professional, but also to grow in my specific skills, to be able to get to know people as a company was kind of evolving.
So I think that was really exciting to be able to talk to them about that, and got me at least excited enough to do the second interview and then take the job. So yeah.
So you were a marketing coordinator, and then– tell me if I’m getting this right– then a digital specialist? Well, then there was a brief time where the marketing coordinator was the digital specialist. So you were sort of this hybrid–
That didn’t work too well, did it?
Yeah, I was actually a hybrid the whole time. So basically, two weeks into the role of a marketing coordinator, our digital team had kind of dissipated. And so it had turned into all these digital responsibilities need to be passed to somebody. So naturally the coordinators kind of stepped in that role. So we became the marketing coordinator digital specialists, I think it the title. And then we worked on the websites, and then also did all of their print work too. So it was a lot to take on.
But you were accustomed to that based upon your early marketing jobs, right?
Yeah, yeah. So it was kind of just like second nature to be like, well, I’m this and this. Like, I can do all of these things. I’m really glad that the teams are kind of separated out now. They have the ability be able to be way more specialized and focused in what they’re doing, which is huge. And I was in that role for about eight months, and then I was given the opportunity to apply for the marketing manager role. And then I stepped into that afterwards.
The marketing manager role, and then you were in the marketing manager role for a year?
For about a year and a half.
A year and half. And what did you do after that? I feel like your best job came right after the marketing manager role.
Yeah, that was a really plug there. No hidden agenda whatsoever. Yeah, so I was in that role for about a year and a half. And towards the end, I just realize that my PPFs weren’t exactly aligned with what I was doing. And so after working with Lindsay and talking with Misty and the rest of the leadership team, I was able to figure out another solution that worked well for me, which was being able to join the amazing paid search team, which Megan, you lead.
Thank you. Yes.
So that’s why there’s obviously so much positive energy from there. But honestly, it’s been an amazing experience working with that team. It’s been a new program, which is really exciting for someone who’s completely obsessed with process.
Well, I think that you joining that team was, at the time that you joined the team, was imperative. I don’t think we could have grown in the sensible way that we did without you putting that process in place and just kind of seeing the need for the process right there from the get-go. It’s not that I don’t appreciate process. I just like shortcuts.
And I think for me, a good process is just a really good shortcut. I mean, when you look at it, a broken process, it means you’re doing a lot of manual labor that no one wants to be doing. And any time I’m sitting at a computer and I’m repeating a process over and over again, I just realize, OK, there’s got to be a better way to do this. We should not be spending our brain power doing these kind of things. If the technology exists to automate it, then let’s automate it. And that was one of the fun things to do coming into the team is just figure out, like, it wasn’t that there weren’t already existing processes, but there were ways to make it easier, , so we could get information quicker, we could develop things quicker, and be able to make our members happier in a shorter amount of time.
No, you did a wonderful, wonderful job of that. So this new job. It’s going to be your first official position where you’re managing a team. Is that correct?
Yeah. Yeah, as far as my career path goes, yeah. It’s true.
How does that feel?
I’m really excited about it though, because like I said before, this team is just incredible as far as the skill set. And I think also just the drive of everyone on the team. I mean, each of them has really kind of taken hold of some aspect of the digital AMP program and been like, hey, let’s make this better. Why hasn’t anyone done this before? And they’ve run with it. And you can see that just from what we’ve been able to accomplish on the new website template Merriweather. Like, I am amazed at what David and our team has been able to put together for our members as a solution.
And then also just simple things like getting our members to blog. I’ve talked about this a lot lately, but I’m really impressed with– I know Patty in particular worked on this a lot, getting a twice monthly blogging kind of platform set up, where we have all these members who need to be blogging and don’t necessarily make time for it, and this is an easy solution for us to create content, get it onto websites. And it’s content that’s good content, which will help boost the SEO.
So I think just being part of that team, it’s kind of infectious, and I’m really looking forward to that aspect. I don’t think I’m going to come in and be able to make anything, like, amazing, because I think the team’s already done a great job of doing that. If anything, I want to just make sure that they’re getting all the resources that they need. And a lot of times I think that one thing that will be kind of fun for me to work with is, because I’ve worked in so many different parts of the company–
That’s what I was going to say. You have that real big world view when it comes to our verticals, and I think that that’s something that’s going to be really valuable. You have the understanding of other positions, right? Or you can kind of get in the mindset or try to understand the mindset that that person might be in or what their triggers are, just kind of what master they’re serving. And I think that will be really, really helpful to be able to have that.
Let’s take a little bit of a transition here and talk about, what do you like to do outside of work? And let’s make that even a little bit more specific. Let’s say you needed to define your perfect day, and you had– let’s say someone gave you $5,000 Garrett, and they said you need to spend it within 24 hours on your perfect day. And that doesn’t mean that you can, like, buy a bunch of gift cards. I know you.
I can’t, like, save it for later?
Yeah. Yeah. No. It has to be spent in that day. What do you choose to do?
Yeah. Oh, man. That’s a really tough question.
You can’t think about it for too long. That’s also part of the game.
Well, I know. We’re, like, on the podcast right now. So if I linger too long, it’s just radio silence. Yeah. I think the biggest thing for me, I love being in the car, road tripping. That’s a huge thing for me. And I would pack my family in the car at, like, 4 o’clock in the morning. I have to spend this all in a day?
OK. Then I might leave at, like, 1 o’clock in the morning. Because if I’m really going to make the most out of this, I’m going to drive my family insane with this.
OK. Where are you going?
Well, I would go probably to some national park, probably like Yellowstone or something, take the kids out.
So, so far you’re spent, like gas money.
Just gas money. I would go out to a really crazy good brunch because I love really good brunch.
Like a buffet?
No, not a buffet.
Just like, you know, like in Portland, you’ve got all these amazing brunch places. I will eat waffles until I die.
So that’s what– you’d go get some waffles?
I’d go– I guess– I don’t know. Like, you’re asking a perfect day.
Yeah, no. I know.
So am I supposed to say, like, skydive or something?
No. No, you’re just supposed to say exactly what comes to you. I like this. I like that the first thing you do is you get in your van and go get some waffles.
To go get some waffles. You can tell I’m incredibly adventurous. So really a thrill seeker.
It’s very charming. So you get your waffles.
Yeah, I get my waffles. We load up in the car, and we just start driving. And this entire time I’m listening to podcasts, because that’s also what would make it a perfect day. And somehow, like, I’ve donated some of this money to those podcasts so that way they make a couple special episodes for me.
I don’t know how quickly they could turn that around.
Since this is a totally ridiculous situation anyways, we’re going to go with that. I would stop at some sort of theme park, because I love roller coasters. Spend a ton of time going on those with the family. And then I would end the day at a nice dinner, and I would hire– oh, man. This is, like, just normal life but just with more money. I would get a babysitter for the kids so I could go out to dinner. But these are the things I think about. So I’d go out to a really nice dinner with my wife. That’d be, like, my perfect day to spend it all. If I was going to do something really crazy I would buy a plane ticket and I would go to either Peru or Africa.
So that’s probably what I would do if I was just going to be totally random with the money.
Yeah. Yeah. Because so far I think in your day you’ve spent maybe, maybe $500.
Yeah. Maybe I should just go– I might just need to go do this this weekend, I’m realizing, because this is all really achievable.
Maybe that’s what we need to turn this podcast into is we actually give you that money and we–
This is where you pull a gift card out, right? And you’re like, by the way, we gave you exactly $500, because that’s as far as your dream stretched.
That’d be kind of cruel.
If you could describe yourself in three words, what words would those be?
Hm. Three words.
Yeah. I would probably say first word is sound. I’m very– yeah, OK. I’ve just got to say the three words, so I’ll probably say sound, family– sound, family, relax. I know that’s kind of random. But I don’t think any of those are adjectives. Sound, family. Those are all nouns. I went completely against your advice there.
But, yeah. I love listening to music and podcasts and radio. I always have something playing in my ear. When I watch movies, I try and guess who the composer is by the end of the movie. Just my favorite thing to do. And family, really important to me. My kids are incredible, and my wife is too, and I love spending any extra time I have with them. And then I already forgot what my last one was.
Sound, family, relax. Oh, yeah. I think that’s just kind of me in general. I do get, like, a little stressed out by stuff every once in a while, but in general with people, I usually try and take a really relaxed approach. I don’t really get worked up over anything. And at home when I have leisure time, I just try to make sure that I’m doing whatever is relaxing. I’m not going to stress out about random stuff. So I think those are my top three.
Oh, that’s perfect.
Thanks. I’m glad I passed the test.
Yeah, yeah. You absolutely did. Thank you so much for spending time with us this afternoon– this morning.
Well, thanks for inviting me–
I’ll see you back in our shared office.
Yeah, I’ll see you there in, like, five minutes.