Several weeks ago I started a new journey. I left my safe, comfortable position with an agency in Hagerstown, Maryland to join the team at Taoti Creative in Washington, DC.

I learned of Taoti from a former co-worker a few years ago. When I decided to look for work in the D.C. area, I recalled my friend’s recommendation of Taoti as a great place to work. I visited Taoti.com and learned about Taoti’s work and culture, as well as the open position for a Project Manager – to which I applied.

At my interview, I was impressed with the executive management team. The interview with the exec team could have felt like an inquisition, but instead was candid and comfortable. The team is young, smart and experienced. I like that… a lot.

The office tour revealed great workspaces that allow for team collaboration. The building has several meeting rooms, ranging from tiny (think telephone booth) to large, nicely appointed conference rooms. The rooftop space, complete with pergola and conversational seating, a large meeting table, grill and wet bar…. uh huh, complete with tapped keg and a bubble machine (seriously).

The offer arrived! The email was warm and inviting, the attached company handbook was actually interesting/fun to read. There was an open invitation to contact existing staff and ask questions, prior to acceptance of the offer.

I could hardly wait to get started.

My initiation has been appropriately gradual, the first week was a mix of HR duties, “getting to know you” meetings with each department head, a gentle introduction to policies and procedures, and handoffs of projects to which I am the assigned PM.

On the second week, there was an open house for the Barracks Row community, to celebrate the business and residents of this interesting D.C. neighborhood. I also had the opportunity to meet the team of a potential client, who made the (right) decision to work with the Taoti team for their next project.

The third week was my first staff meeting, complete with monster-sized doughnuts and beer. Could it get any better? Yes, actually it does get better. The staff cruise on the company boat was scheduled to begin right after the meeting ended!

After the staff meeting separate groups drove or power-walked to the boat dock and we enjoyed a cruise to the Wharf. The plan was to grab dinner and either A) go home from there, or B) ride the boat back to the office. I intended to be in Group A. After dinner, I wandered back to the boat, to enjoy a relaxed conversation with a few folks until the boat departed – at which time I planned to hop off and take the Metro home.

Captain Brent mentioned that he could give a lift to the Metro station near his house, for anyone interested. Not being one to pass up an opportunity for extended cruising, adult beverages, and camaraderie with my new co-workers, this sounded like an excellent plan.

Thank goodness I decided to head back. My co-workers had a little difficulty when we returned to the dock. The bow lines that had somehow wrapped around a piling. Having experience as a First Mate came in handy, and I was able to use my boat hook skills and help secure the last line on the first try. Ok, maybe I got lucky….

Safely docked, a few of us piled into Brent’s car, headed for the metro. Along the way, we detoured a little and ended up at Brent’s house for more refreshments and interesting conversations about a variety of subjects. At the end of the evening, we all opted for the comfort of Uber over Metro.

Week four and beyond, things are picking up speed. I am feeling more settled and becoming attuned to the new pace. A few weeks into becoming a Taotian, I have learned a lot about my company, my coworkers, and my clients. I am part of a team that shares my belief of work hard, play hard. I am excited about the future, to push the needle and do great work with an incredible group of people.