40 impressions of Forty

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Gangplank’s guest-blogging series illustrates the array of personalities and experiences embodied by our community. All invited participants – past brownbag speakers, anchors, new members, City of Chandler employees and others – share their Gangplank stories. Interested guest posters should send a draft to our Director of Operations.

By Shaina Rozen, Marketing Specialist for Forty.

As the newest member of Forty, I arrived into Gangplank for the first time with wide eyes and the anticipation of walking into my first college party. Unlike most ‘plankers, I had never heard of or seen this local phenomena until my conversations with Forty began.

I started my career in Corporate America because I thought that’s “just what you do.” While I gained great experience, I knew that I was destined to be more than just another sheep. I thought differently, had lofty dreams, and found myself frequently disheartened by those fighting to maintain the status quo rather than (gasp!) figuring out how to make real change happen.

So when the opportunity arose to join the Forty team, I opted to give my retractable badge the boot, say “sayonara” to the cubicle jungle, and take the road less traveled. It has been everything BUT your typical newbie week on the job, filled with eagerness, hard work, stress, laughs, and of course, lots of initial thoughts and feeling about my new abode at Gangplank. Here is a glimpse into the mind of a newbie – my “40 First Impressions at Forty.”

  1. “Gangplank”? Is there some sort of pirate enthusiasts club I didn’t know about?
  2. This place reeks of testosterone. It takes a brave woman to walk these halls in a skirt.
  3. 66-mile roundtrip commute? Don’t mind if I do!
  4. Are they really cleaning the sidewalk outside? That’s like making your bed before going to sleep.
  5. I’m loving the overhaul of Downtown Chandler! It’s like the new Old Town Scottsdale without the silicone and popped collars.
  6. I’m pleasantly surprised at how welcoming everyone has been. I may or may not have bribed them with food.
  7. So…over…the construction.
  8. Shouldn’t have worn heels. Everyone is looking at me like I wore my prom dress to the gym.
  9. Did I just hear a pirate song?
  10. My name is Shaina, and I’ve never used a Mac. There. I said it.
  11. This building may have more iPhones per square foot than the Apple headquarters.
  12. One of my first fun Forty tasks: create my bio for the website. Writing the copy – super fun. Transferring that text into html code – come again?
  13. Forty starts off the day with an improv exercise. I would have loved to see the CEO at my prior employers making animal noises or doing full-body impersonations.
  14. A local business giving back and being a part of the community – quite a concept!
  15. New employee orientation? Nope. Days of filling out paperwork and hearing all the dry HR rules? Not a chance. Running a client meeting alone and copywriting on my second day? Yup. Now THAT’S confidence in who you’ve hired.
  16. I should have taken out stock in Post Its.
  17. When I hear “brown bag”, I think of foul lunches in elementary school or juvenile doorbell pranks. Now it means lunchtime entertainment. Kudos to the acoustic guitar player last week!
  18. I thought playing video games stopped once you graduated college; how wrong I was.
  19. You know I love my job when I’m willing to take out the garbage… in heels.
  20. Who needs artwork when you have whiteboards?
  21. My phone may slightly resemble the Zack Morris brick and has neither a touch screen, the Internet, nor apps. Oh, the horror!
  22. The first type of comment I’ve heard from every client who walks in the door: “Wow, what a cool space!” The second: “Is anyone over 35? Anyone? Bueller…”
  23. Marketing strategy. Branding. Copywriting. Media buying. Social media. SEO. Web design. HEAVEN.
  24. You know you’re not in a typical office when the morning soundtrack includes “Back That Thang Up” and “The Bad Touch.”
  25. No CEOs here sitting on their perches and sending commands down to their lowly peons. A boss who actually works *with* the team and is involved in every aspect of the business? What a novelty.
  26. This may be the only place where you can write code in one room and raps in the next.
  27. The collaborative energy in the room is infectious. No more long, lonely nights on the quest for a new idea or agonizing over a roadblock; just turn around!
  28. Sitting at the first desk by the entrance means “Gangplank Greeter” needs to be added to my title.
  29. What do a dairy farm, a podiatrist’s office, and a snowboarding gear shop have in common? Not a punch line to a bad joke; just a sampling of the Forty client list!
  30. I imagined a small marketing agency to be a bunch of crazy creatives running around with no direction or structure that *somehow* manage to get things done. Instead, I found a team with solid organization, project management processes, and people who each have different working styles but respect and welcome those of others.
  31. So much for keeping my girlish figure. I can feel my jeans getting tighter just *looking* at the food shelf.
  32. In most offices, the question, “What do you think about this?” is usually asterisked with “But I only want to know if you agree with me or if you’re going to tell me how wonderful I am.” No room for diplomacy or wishy washy opinions here!
  33. At Gangplank, there is a direct correlation between the number of ingenious entrepreneurs in the room and the number of sleepless nights they spend playing Call of Duty.
  34. Forget privacy. Even the conference rooms aren’t completely enclosed. Great thing for collaboration, not so great for lovey dovey conversations with your significant other or those with an online shopping vice. Just me??
  35. After coming from an office where I was the youngest by about 20 years, it’s awesome to have friends at work, especially ones that DON’T ask if I’m on “that MyFace thing”.
  36. I’ve gotten the opportunity to do more in my first five days than I had in five months at my previous jobs.
  37. This place is a gold mine for creativity, innovation, technical savvy, and young talent!
  38. There’s always someone taking pictures or video when you least expect it. It’s a good thing we’re all really, really, ridiculously good looking.
  39. I haven’t ended my day with such a feeling of excitement and accomplishment since… ooh, kindergarten show and tell.
  40. I’m proud to don the coveted green jacket!

With all of these initial impressions in just the first week, I’m eager to see how my views evolve over time. After years in the same place, most people have a hard time recalling what it was like when they first started. Now, I have the luxury and potential embarrassment of having my list broadcast on the Internet for all to see and to aid my future reminiscing.

I’m excited to see what’s to come, but in the meantime, it’s empowering to know that I’ve made the right decision to walk the plank! What were your first impressions of working at Gangplank?

4 thoughts on “40 impressions of Forty

  1. Nice post. Welcome to the Zoo! I get more done at GP, even with the welcomed associated Gangplank interruptions like – Street Fighter, taking client phone calls in the podcasting room (while playing guitar), misc. things thrown at me from across the room – Thx Conrey – not mentioning any names etc. – it is a haven for creativity.

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