Starting my new job during COVID-19

Starting my new job during COVID-19

Reflecting on the last two weeks, there's a lot (maybe too much) to put into a blog about the shitstorm we're surviving as a society, and how I've had to roll with the punches of starting a brand new job in between it all.

But before any of that - don't feel bad / sorry / sad about this. No one has ever had to work during a global health crisis, so whatever you’re doing or plan to do - winging it is fine. There's no blueprint, so screw ups are bound to happen.

Typical first days might include a nice stroll around the office, a coffee on the company credit card and IT at your desk desperately trying to set you up and get you logged in. My first day started with an appropriately-distanced drop off of my computer and about 100 phone calls to get me set up. (Just kidding, Dale is great and it only took a couple of calls to get me setup.)

First impressions?

"An ability to hit the ground running" - not explicitly stated on any job spec worth its salt. But damn, waiver my notice period because I have seen it all! Meeting clients via Zoom, getting to know new systems with nothing else to go on except a Google search, and the humdrum of neighbours and their rowdy kids who are also just trying to survive this apocalyptic time. Ah, an average Tuesday afternoon in our new normal.

Then along came an email that I'm sure was not meant to ruse; likely just to touch base. Checking in on your staff is usually the perfunctory "How is everyone doing? We need to do XYZ. If you need help, shout". And do they shout? No. Do they do XYZ? Probably not. Are they doing well? Are they?

I digress. An email pops into my inbox, reminding me of the gravity of this situation and how we're all going to need to band together to make it through. "Databroker have been beating bigger companies and threats for years. They are the safest of hands and the biggest of shoulders for this task. Dark Horse was born to beat the favourites and shove odds up asses sideways. If we remember our values and what we signed up to, we will deliver and be stronger. I know you will."

Re-read that. You know a guy called John Keating? Me too. We all do. His email was to remind us what we're representing, and in my case, maybe introduce me to it. I'd only been working for Dark Horse for a few days at this stage, but if ever I wanted to know what our brand values really were - I got it.

What does the world need right now? Is it a calm and reassuring message? Is it an announcement from government? I really sat wondering what it is we're all so desperately in need of right now, myself included.

We need to cut through the noise. Barring some excellent brands (I'm looking at you, Nando's), marketing as a whole is a candy coated sugar puff that makes you see rainbows, unicorns and glitter until a few months down the line when, in your search of promised rainbows / unicorns / glitter, all you get is "I don't know why you're not ranking. Must be coronavirus".

Stop. Right. There.

This is probably why I was hired, along with my genuinely great colleagues. Dark Horse has never and will never promise sunshine and daisies when we know what we're going to be able deliver is drizzle and dandelions. Bad analogy perhaps, but you get it. What we promise, we deliver on.

It's time to ask the real questions. 6 months from now when all of this is a vivid, suspiciously hallucinogenic memory, we're going to need to show what we've been busy with all this time.

The choices are: nothing, or everything. I know I'm personally busy with everything. I'm working hard to get our clients the best possible content. Dark Horse is working hard to reassure our clients in a very unassured time. We do our best on any given day, and ten times harder behind the scenes.

On a side note; if this pandemic is crafted into a movie, Samuel L. Jackson is the only viable option for narration. The multiple use of the term motherf#cker is unequivocally required.

PS: Nando’s appreciation day is every day.

Nandos Marketing