A while back, I started conversations with Crispin Porter Bogusky’s London office, regarding a new role at the agency that they were looking to fill. As a long-time from-afar CPB fan, one of the main pulls to work for the agency was the particular agency culture, and the people, the so-called ‘The Mutts, Misfits and Culture Jammers’, as they put it. (Note to self: I wonder if that’s where the PM’s special advisor Dominic Cummings borrowed his turn of phrase from, in his Jan 2020 shout out for new hires….)
As it happens, I got the job. The only problem? My start date, as it turned out, was just after lockdown had taken effect. This has meant my formative first few weeks at the iconic agency have been, well, rather ‘different’.
First off, when there is no physical office to go to on Day One, you don’t get that immediate injection of culture. There’s no neon signage making you feel immediately part of something bigger, no lovely front of house person to welcome you, no friendly IT bloke to ‘get you up and running’. That’s day one, but it goes on: no-one to casually chat to by the Nespresso machine to get the office goss, no one you can listen to updating their neighbour on the antics at the latest office party. Corridor chats, coffee breaks, or an impromptu pint; the stables of office life, are all absent.
Certainly, there are many benefits too to the lockdown. First day nerves aren’t quite the same, as you’re in familiar surroundings at home. You haven’t just spent an hour on public transport, panicking whether you’ll make it on time. In short, you have the time and relative tranquillity to be able to focus fully on your 'To Do’ list.
And it’s this ‘focus’ that powers you through week one; you’re nailing it, albeit virtually. Chemistry presentation scoped out? Tick. Client’s social media playbook in-work? Tick. 25 Zooms later and it’s Friday, and you close your laptop and head to the pub with the crew; oh wait, no not that bit.