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  • Writer's pictureChristina Hackett

How Working For Ace Digital Group Improved My Mental Health

Trigger Warning: This post discusses themes of death and grief.

As part of our commitment to supporting mental health and well-being, especially during Mental Health Awareness Month, I am sharing a deeply personal story that deviates from our usual content. It is important to address difficult topics, including death and grief, and to provide appropriate trigger warnings.

In the midst of what felt like a whirlwind of life changes at 27, during my last semester in college, I found myself facing unexpected challenges. While diligently improving my LinkedIn profile in search of job opportunities, I received a message from Kerri, one of the CEO’s at Ace Digital Group. Despite lacking direct paid media experience, I jumped at the chance for an interview, confident in my ability to impress them and their clients. I suggested the possibility of an internship, and to my delight, I soon found myself on a Zoom call with Kerri and Nilab, two remarkable women whose energy and vision resonated deeply with me.

Their offer of a part-time position was both unexpected and exhilarating. 

From day one, I was immersed in a whirlwind of activity, assisting with presentations and gathering data, eager to soak up every bit of knowledge. Nevertheless, just as I was settling into my new role, life threw me a curveball. My father fell seriously ill, and I found myself balancing two part-time jobs, struggling to complete my college coursework, and grappling with the imminent loss of a loved one.

In the ensuing weeks, I devoted myself to supporting my family during my father's final months, reluctantly stepping away from my newfound position. Despite the personal turmoil, I remained determined to keep the lines of communication open, persistently reaching out to my colleagues, and pleading not to be forgotten. I was always met with empathy and compassion. 

It was a challenging time, marked by heartache and loss, but also by resilience and determination. Despite the heavy weight of grief, I persevered, determined to resume my journey of personal and professional growth. I was welcomed back with open arms.  

Reconnecting with my colleagues in my first week back felt like slipping into a comfortable pair of shoes - I was welcomed with warmth, and it seemed as though I had never left.

However, just as I began to find my footing again, tragedy struck once more. In my second week back, my grandmother passed away, compounding the pain of my recent loss. 

Yet, amidst the storm of emotions that threatened to overwhelm me, I found unexpected solace in the supportive embrace of my coworkers. In the months that followed, as I navigated the complex terrain of grief, anger, and pain, my colleagues became pillars of strength, offering a shoulder to lean on and a listening ear when needed most. Together, we weathered the storms of life, finding moments of light and camaraderie even in the darkest of times.

ADG became my lifeline during some of the most challenging times in my life. From the moment I signed on, it was evident that they prioritized the well-being of their employees above all else. Everyone that I’ve worked with has met me with compassion and understanding. That in itself was motivation enough to keep on going.  

ADG's culture fostered an environment of care and support, ensuring every team member felt valued and supported. It’s inspiring, motivational, and aspirational. 

The flexibility afforded by ADG's flex-time policy was another game-changer for me. Knowing that I could easily schedule therapy sessions, and honor my feelings as they come up, without sacrificing precious lunch breaks or holidays, has also provided a sense of freedom and empowerment. 

Working for ADG has allowed me to prioritize my mental health without compromising my work responsibilities, ultimately leading to greater work-life balance and well-being.

Moreover, the regular check-ins with my managers played a pivotal role in my journey towards mental wellness and professional growth because believe it or not, they go hand in hand. It is incredibly validating when your managers acknowledge and try to prevent you from burning out. 

Building close relationships with them enabled open communication and trust, fostering an environment where I felt comfortable discussing my struggles and seeking guidance. Their unwavering support was a constant source of motivation, inspiring me to prioritize my mental well-being and strive for personal growth. After all, as they often reminded me, a happy and mentally healthy employee is more productive and contributes to a thriving workplace culture.

A supportive workplace is essential for employee welfare and productivity. Here are some key components to consider, along with questions to ask potential employers to ensure they align with your values and needs.

Key Components of a Supportive Workplace

  • Empathetic Work Environment: ADG's culture of empathy and understanding played a crucial role in maintaining my mental well-being during personal challenges.

  • Flexible Work Policies: ADG’s flexible time policy allowed me to prioritize my mental health, providing a better work-life balance and a sense of empowerment.

  • Managerial Support: Regular check-ins and open communication with managers were vital in preventing burnout and fostering both personal and professional growth.

  • Positive Workplace Culture: A supportive and engaging workplace culture enhances productivity and overall employee satisfaction.

Questions to Consider When Interviewing for a New Position

To ensure your next workplace fosters growth and well-being, consider asking these questions during your interview:

Mental Health in the Workplace

  • How does the company foster a culture of mental health awareness and support?

  • What measures are in place to handle work-life balance, and reduce stress and burnout?

  • Are there benefits that cover psychotherapy and mental health services?

  • How does the company accommodate employees needing adjustments due to mental health conditions?

  • Are specific mental health days or wellness leave offered?

  • How are flexible working arrangements managed?

Education and Workshops

  • Are there regular workshops or seminars on mental health and wellness?

  • Is there training provided for managers and employees on mental health awareness and support?

  • What protocols are in place for handling a mental health crisis in the workplace?

  • How is the confidentiality of employees seeking mental health support ensured?

By asking these questions, you can identify workplaces that align with your values and prioritize your well-being.

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