5 Years at McMurry/TMG


This week marked my fifth anniversary at what is now McMurry/TMG.

One of the cool things about the company is that it rewards milestone anniversaries like mine with cold, hard cash — with the entreaty that you consider using it for something memorable and, ideally, splurge-y (instead of being boring and paying off credit cards).

It makes sense that the company would want employees to associate their years of service with something delightful, not drudgetastic. Mine will show up on my next paycheck, and I’m already apportioning it out in my head.

In exchange for the skrilla, employees do a quick Q&A that’s usually posted in our internal newsletter. Mine came out today, and I’m kind of pleased that when I submitted mine, it made the editor tear up. I’ve copied it below, and hope it won’t be too difficult to figure out which answer did it.

Happy Anniversary, Sam!

Sunday, Sept. 2 marked Senior Content Editor Sam Mittelsteadt’s five-year anniversary with McMURRY/TMG. Here are his manager’s thoughts and his own thoughts about the journey he’s taken the past five years. Congratulations, Sam!

“His meetings are full of laughter. His clients treat him like family. His doesn’t know the meaning of second-rate. All that, and flawless fashion sense,” says his manager, Senior Content Editor Sally Kilbridge. “Simply stated, Sam Mittelsteadt makes the office a better place to be.”

How has your career developed since 2008?
After 20 years in journalism, my editorial skills were already top-notch — ow, I just hurt my arm patting my own back! — but my client-relations experience was nonexistent. When my first client said she’d need more time to submit an article, I said something like, “Sorry, you missed your deadline. You’ll just have to fill with something from archives instead.” (Cue: record-scratch sound effect.) Thankfully for me and the company, I’m much improved since then: Within a few months, I had earned a new, unofficial, highly NSFW title that reflected my honed ability to charm clients. (I still have the business card at my desk for a laugh.)

What have you enjoyed most about the past five years?
I know I’m supposed to say “my amazing co-workers,” but I am secretly a self-indulgent scoundrel at heart, so instead I’m going to say the opportunities I’ve had to travel.

I had never been to the East Coast before I took the edit lead on CBS, and now I’m in New York often enough that I’ve earned frequent-flier status. I try not to stay in the same hotel twice in a row because I investigate different neighborhoods and restaurants on each visit, even if I do have a few favorite haunts I tend to return to. (Hello, Uniqlo in Soho, with your flat-rate $5.95 shipping.) Taking the subway everywhere helps me delude myself into thinking I fit in with actual New Yorkers, even as my brightly colored clothing betrays me as a non-native. (I have like one solitary black shirt, which is essentially relegated to clothing purgatory.)

But my visits to New York only reinforce how much I love living in Phoenix: By the time my return flight touches down at Sky Harbor, I am giddy at the prospect of experiencing sprawl, stillness and personal space again. The drive down the freeway always seems infinitely more smooth and quiet than it did on the trip to the airport just a few days before.

What’s your favorite McMURRY/TMG memory?
When I was home in Montana during my father’s final bout with cancer, I posted on Facebook an idea inspired by a jar of Chinese fortunes on my desk, that he might be able to find strength and inspiration in messages of hope. Two days later, my parents’ mailbox was overflowing with a slew of postcards that were so creative, there was no question who had crafted and posted them. When my dad finally passed away, the first call I made was to Work Wife, and the first set of condolence flowers made it to the house before we did, thanks to the Phoenix office. My family was dumbstruck by the rapid, heartfelt response but it made perfect sense to me, knowing the people I work with. (I later blogged about the whole thing here.)

Anything else you’d like to say?
Speaking of co-workers: It’s wonderful how, over the years, many of them have segued naturally into great friends even outside of the office environment. Work Wife and I were notoriously close, of course, but I could easily rattle off the names of a half-dozen more current and former cohorts who’ve squirreled their way into my curmudgeonly heart. (A whole motley crew who happened to be or live in New York helped me celebrate my birthday this year!)

And there you have it.

shirt021813 pants1202 shoes080211
The shirt: Madras button-down, from the J. Crew outlet store at Anthem.
The pants: Slim-cut cargo khakis, from Uniqlo, Soho.
The shoes: Chukka boots by R.J. Colt, from Last Chance.

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