Being an intern at Media Bridge Advertising, I’d like to think that I have an unbiased view of the agency that allows me to write more objectively than others. You could call me a “fresh perspective,” or maybe I’ll sound like a schmuck trying to write positive things to get myself a job. That’s for you to decide. I just want to write regularly about what I’m learning from the people here during the Covid-19 pandemic. So tune in and let me know if anything strikes a chord with you.
’Twas the first week of quarantine and all through the house…No, I’m only joking! I promised my boss I wouldn’t write in parodies or rhymes. After the end of our first work-from-home week, the marketing department and I hopped on a Zoom call to connect over the week’s abundant challenges, simply trying to act as therapists to each other, searching for a silver lining to make tireless efforts seem worthwhile.
It was clear that businesses across America had been hurting due to statewide shutdowns, and no one knew what to do in these unpredictable times. And as I listened, I understood that the normal work structure had been thrown out the window. “Nine to five” had become “sunrise to sunset.” There was no such thing as a weekend, and I’m pretty sure that “remembering to eat” was not on the top of anyone’s list during this hectic time. My coworkers shared story after story of hours-long phone calls with clients, midnight email chains and panicked voicemails.
“What do you guys talk about?” I asked.
“We don’t usually talk,” my coworkers responded. “We just listen.”
Just listen. I realized that when my coworkers would talk with their clients, they didn’t spend their time only discussing the formalities of business transactions and ad spend. It wasn’t business as usual, because nothing about right now is “usual.” They discussed their families, passions and fears, the personal struggles and victories that come with quarantine. They talked as friends would.
When my coworkers would gather at the end of the week to share client news, it wasn’t a discussion of who was losing or earning us money. It was about how our clients were feeling. It was a discussion about how hard it was to hear that these clients—who they’ve known for years—were facing distress and having to lay off employees. It was a discussion on planning out what we can do to make it right for them. Because in times of struggle, we don’t need a salesman, we just need a friend. A friend who listens.
That’s my first post, and my first lesson. Thank you for stopping by the water cooler today and spending this time with me! I’ll have another story to share next week. But in the meantime, I hope you all stay safe, stay healthy and stay 6 feet apart at all times.
Thanks for listening.