Who didn’t love school field trips as a kid? Taking a break from classes, visiting new places — and hopefully learning new things. Field trip days were the best.
Last year, Two Rivers Marketing launched a new benefit for associates called Curiosity Time Off (CTO). I like to think of this perk as a field trip of your own making.
The idea behind CTO is simple. It’s paid time for agency associates to explore what they’re curious about — any topic or topics of their choosing. Pretty cool, right?
Taking time off to explore
You may wonder how CTO differs from regular paid time off (PTO) or training that’s related to our jobs. I’m glad you asked!
While PTO is often about rest and relaxation, the purpose of CTO is to explore where your curiosity leads you. And CTO doesn’t have to be specific to tasks or skills that you use for work, which sets it apart from our agency training opportunities.
I recently used a day of CTO to visit three museums in Des Moines: the State Historical Society of Iowa (my first time there), the Des Moines Botanical Garden, and the Des Moines Art Center. I also had a leisurely lunch at the Botanical Garden’s lovely café, Trellis.
This CTO day allowed me to explore cultural attractions in our city — information I can put to use in the future by making recommendations to visiting agency clients or new coworkers. It also let me feed my brain in ways that made me happy.
The State Historical Society museum has a great exhibit, “Hollywood in the Heartland,” showcasing famous movies set or filmed in Iowa. Yes, it’s more than just “Field of Dreams.” And I loved spending an unhurried Friday afternoon among works by great artists like Edward Hooper, Renoir, and Grant Wood at the Des Moines Art Center.
The benefits of a break
My idea of a perfect adult field trip day may be different from yours. That’s the beauty of Curiosity Time Off. Each associate gets to decide what they spend their time learning about.
I asked a few other Two Rivers associates how they spent their CTO. Their feedback was as varied and interesting as the people who work here:
“Another associate and I toured one of the largest vendor solutions companies in the world. It was a helpful reminder to be curious about our client’s businesses. It was fascinating to see their operation, see how their products are made, and learn more about the dynamics of the business and trends in vending and inventory management.” — Joe Boswell, marketing strategy manager
“The majority of my CTO was spent becoming certified as a USA volleyball coach. I’ve been a volleyball coach for 17 seasons, and this was an opportunity for the first time in many years to learn about new approaches to coaching. I’ve always felt that becoming a better volleyball coach makes me an even better leader and team member in my profession.” — Stephanie Bidney, senior digital project manager
“I am passionate about growing as a yoga teacher and learning all aspects of yoga. My CTO focused on pranayama (breath work). I learned so many different breathing techniques that not only help me as a yoga teacher but also as a human being. I was able to bring those techniques to the agency and share the love and knowledge with everyone.” — Caryn Lee Meeks, strategic communications supervisor
“I do a podcast with my friend, so I used some of my CTO to not only work on the podcast itself, but also look into and plan my social media strategy. It was really insightful and gave me a better idea of where I want to go with the social channels for the podcast.” — Haley Varnes, editor
Associates who have taken advantage of the CTO benefit say they appreciate working for an agency that encourages outside passions and interests — and provides paid time to explore those things.
“We are in the business of ideas. So it’s important that we give associates time to be curious and fill their bucket,” Joe said. “You never know where inspiration may come from.”
Explore something new
When the agency launched the CTO benefit, associates were told that while the time spent may align with their agency role or career development, the real purpose of CTO is to foster the impulse to seek new information and experiences and explore novel possibilities.
When I ask myself “What am I curious about today?” my mental list starts to form. Who knows where my next field trip will take me? Perhaps it’s tackling a new skill, visiting cultural attractions, or learning more about a social cause I’m passionate about. I’m looking forward to it already.
If Two Rivers Marketing sounds like a place where you can nourish your passions and interests, check out our job openings.