If you grew up watching “Shrek,” you’ve probably picked up more than a few life lessons, but the one that stands out the most is the onion metaphor. (“Ogres have layers. Onions have layers. You get it? We both have layers.”) And, our HR director, Jeremy Corb, is someone who has a lot more than meets the eye.
Although I’ve worked with Jeremy in the past, I had the pleasure of peeling back a few more layers to reveal someone I never thought I’d find!
Layer 1: Professional Journey
Jeremy grew up in Maine, a state that has more trees than roads and more coastline than California. He studied literature at college, and his first job out of university was an HR position at Amtrak, the train transportation company.
“I was an HR assistant at Amtrak, opening mail and answering phones. And, then I saw the job for Brafton and thought, ‘Yeah, I want to put my degree to use.’”
The professional journey Jeremy embarked on when entering the workforce was a bit more straightforward and casual than it may seem today.
“I found Brafton through a Craigslist job ad.” he says with a smirk. “Back then, it was all about Craigslist. I’m so glad now that the shoe is on the other foot, and I don’t have to use Craigslist [to recruit].”
Jeremy began as a writer, like many people here.
“I started in March 2011. So, a little over 12 years [ago]. The job was totally different then because I started as a writer. The content writer job description was only one paragraph.”
The job ad was very straightforward, asking applicants if they wanted to write “all day, every day” as a career.
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Layer 2: Motivations
As a lit major-turned-HR generalist, what keeps Jeremy going?
“My favorite part is getting to work with open and friendly colleagues, that’s really rare for someone in my position,” says Jeremy reflectively. “To be working at a company this size, and to not have constant personality conflicts and arguments with management is really a blessing; to have the interpersonal relationships and the professionalism. So, I have to say, it’s everyone at Brafton.”
What makes Jeremy’s motivation for excelling in HR so sincere is that it truly comes off so naturally for him. He’s the kind face and the friendly nod, reminder and guide that holds Brafton to the standard of mutual respect our internal teams are so famous for. In a creative space, leaning in and being open to shifts and change is how we’re able to carry on — and also reason #2 why Jeremy enjoys life at Brafton:
“Originally — and it still holds true — but when I started, I liked seeing everything being created and everyone being focused on the creative. Even the HR department, the admin people, the salespeople, everybody’s just focused on making the creative thing happen, and it isn’t an afterthought.”
After a bit more reflecting, he says, “That’s the coolest thing about it. But, what actually makes me enjoy my job when I stop and think about it, is that it’s filled with a whole bunch of creatives.”
Layer 3: Personal Life
When he’s not creating HR magic, he’s taking care of his 2 dogs.
“The dogs are both young Labradors, one yellow lab who is 4 and a black lab that is a year and a half. They take a surprising amount of my time.”
When asked if he’s a coffee or tea drinker, he says bring on the caffeine!
“Both and all the caffeine. Because the animals wake me up to feed them. I drink a bunch of coffee and then walk the dogs.”
We launched a wellness challenge here at Brafton, and the Corb family was thrilled about the daily walking aspects of the exercise.
Jeremy also loves booking it back to Maine to revisit the scenery, clear his mind and carve out space for a good read.
“I like to visit the mountains, visit the lakes and get out of the city, especially in the summer. And, I never write anything anymore, but I love to read. I’m currently reading the latest Barbara Kingsolver.”
Final Layer: Past Life
So, we’ve learned that Jeremy is a through-and-through New Englander, started off as a literary genius, then turned into an HR wizard… he reads, hikes and has 2 dogs.
Is there anything else?
Oh, yes, Jeremy also spent most of his young life as a figure skater. But, let’s back up a bit.
“Immediately after high school, I took 8 years to complete college because I spent a few years of amateur competition at the national level. And, then I quit that and joined “Disney on Ice” for 4 years. And then came back, finished school and then started my HR career.”
While most people moved to Massachusetts for school, Jeremy did it for ice skating. If you ever get the chance, I encourage anyone to sit with Jeremy and pick his brain for insight, perspective and tips on how to stay light on your feet no matter what the next step may be.
We’re all so lucky to work with you, Jeremy!