Faithlife’s culture is diverse. With about 450 employees, it would be easy to feel like just another face in the crowd. But that’s not how Faithlife works.
Faithlife creates opportunities for employees to step outside the office and get to know each other, including amazing trips together, recreational sports teams, regular lunch outings, the outdoor center, and our epic break room.
Sometimes, people discover that they have a lot in common outside of work. At Comicon this year, Beckie Rosillo discovered she was not alone in her love of comic books.
She says, “I was working at Comicon and several people from Faithlife either stopped me at the convention or emailed me when I got back to tell me they’d seen me there. It was really funny because people I’d never talked to before and some who I didn’t even know suddenly reached out to me simply because they saw me and realized I liked comic books too—it’s like an instant bonding thing.”
When she returned, Beckie created a Faithlife Group for employees to connect. Through the group, she learned that some of her coworkers walk to a nearby comic book shop every week. Some of them have been going every week for over two years.
After Comicon and the creation of the Faithlife Group, the crew found some new companions for their weekly outings.
Brandon Rappuhn says he started going to The Comics Place on Wednesdays when he first started working at Faithlife two and a half years ago. A few months into the job, Brandon already found a group of coworkers to go with.
Brandon says, “When Faithlife expanded and hired 100 more people in 2013, we finally added some more comic book geeks to our ranks.”
The group has walked to The Comics Place every Wednesday without fail, though the size of the group varies week to week.
I asked Brandon, “Why Wednesdays?”
He said, “Most of us are following a few different series of comics. New issues come out on Wednesdays, so if you follow a few series, chances are there’s at least one new issue waiting for you each Wednesday.”
This Wednesday, I joined the crew and took a two-minute walk through downtown Bellingham to see what it’s like.
When we walked in, The Comics Place employees greeted my coworkers by name and handed them the latest issue of each of their favorite comics. To the shop employees, these weren’t just customers, they were fellow fans of a unique form of literature.
James, a developer at Faithlife, says “What I love most about comics is probably the world they’ve built up over the years and the sense of continuity they provide. I think what makes comics unique is their combined use of illustration and the written word to tell a story. It’s really fascinating to watch a character’s look and feel evolve over the years as they’re drawn and written by different artists and writers, too.”
Steve Workman from technical support says, “I enjoy that comics take complex issues and break them down into entertaining bite-sized chunks.”
The way everyone shares their love of comics is different, too.
Steve says, “I have never hidden the fact that I enjoy comics. I currently have a Drax bobble head from Guardians of the Galaxy and a Transformer on my desk.”
James doesn’t roll with the group on Wednesdays, but he shares what he’s reading and any news he encounters about upcoming events in the Faithlife Group.
Brandon says, “Comic books are a unique medium for communicating story and character. In comic books, when you have a good artist, the story is told in ways novels—by their inherent limitations—cannot tell. It also provides a way for younger readers to get into reading. One coworker picks up comic books written for six-year-old-girls, and she reads them to her daughter, who loves them, and is recently starting to read them on her own.”
Beckie wears her comic book fanhood wherever she goes. She says, “I don’t carry a purse but instead I have a backpack that looks like a big Captain America shield. People stop me all the time, whether I’m at the grocery store, walking down the street, or even at church. It’s really funny.”
Since Faithlife serves the Christian church as a whole, we constantly interact with a broad theological landscape. Our employees come from diverse theological backgrounds as well. For Brandon, shared interests like comics are a great way to bridge the gaps and create rich friendships.
“It’s been a great excuse to get away from the office with coworkers and get to know them outside of the context of theology and software. With a shared interest in comics, we build bonds of comradery that sometimes aren’t shared by our theological dispositions. It’s one more way we build friendship and rapport with one another. Then when we talk about theology, we don’t end up burning each other out.”
The trips to The Comics Place offer a unique way for coworkers to share what they like—and don’t like. Brandon says, “I enjoy seeing what different comics each person is into, sharing stories with my coworkers, trying to convince my coworkers that my stories are the better ones, and sometimes taking a chance and picking up a story that my coworker swears by.”
For these Faithlife employees, comic books are one of the many ways they’ve made the transition from anonymous coworkers to friends.
Whatever your interests are, chances are there’s someone at Faithlife who shares it.