Screaming Circuits is open for business and for our customers, we’re hoping it is as close to “as usual” as possible. For us on the inside though, it is anything but. Welcome our newest employee, Geoff Byers who started a new job and entered a whole new world on the same day.
I never thought my first week on a new job would be the most interesting of my career. I started working at Milwaukee Electronics/Screaming Circuits as their Demand Manager on March 16 [ed note: that was kind of the explosion day in terms of COVID-19 response planning for the company]. In seven days, I left my family’s company, competed for toilet paper, stocked up on food for a self-quarantine, sicked the police on a clandestine strip club operation in my neighborhood and helped revamp the company’s sales funnel. I had no idea what lay ahead but decided to give it my all.
On day one I knew I made the right decision to work here. Watching how leadership handled uncertainty convinced me I was in good hands. They reassured everyone that “this too shall pass.” What I found most reassuring was how cool under pressure everyone was. Of course, there were looming questions, but everyone laughed and welcomed me anyway. I even built circuit boards on my first day!
As the week went on, I got pulled off the normal new employee week-long training. It was “all hands-on deck” to create a new marketing plan. I’m glad the marketing team pulled me out because I learn better when I up my sleeves or get thrown into a task. It felt like learning how to swim all over again. This time though my director sailed me into the middle of the Pacific, told me to jump in and swim to shore [ed note: I’d call that an accurate representation]. I didn’t have much time to learn the ropes, but I learn fast. I contributed as much as I could. That felt great [ed note: and swim he did!].
On Thursday my director told me to work from home, which I wasn’t expecting to do until six months later. I understood why but was disappointed, nonetheless. I just finished working remote for the past six months. I thrive on human interaction! Working from home is great. It can be very lonely though, and I was always going over my coffee budget [ed note: but at least you don’t have to suffer through company coffee anymore]. I was looked forward to free coffee! And working with great people, of course.
Working from home I still hit the ground running, thanks to a work-at-home routine from my last job. I put some weekend time in learning more about the business. While doing that I realized people were in the formerly empty new house across the street that was for sale just last week. Turns out the builder needed cash because the house had sat on the market for so long. So, overnight he turned it into a strip club – right in the middle of a residential neighborhood. During a major pandemic! I love the entrepreneurship hustle, but really? A “residential” strip club? We called the police to shut it down. I just hope the strippers practiced social-distancing.
For having such a crazy week, this has been an experience laugh at in hindsight. I am glad I started when I did. I got to not only see how the company reacts to customer needs during a crisis, but also how our leaders reassure us that everything will be okay.