By Geoff Short
Where am I? How did I get here?
These have been very common questions over the last week or so as I left behind life as I knew it in Cleveland, Ohio to begin my journey to join the marketing team at Chauvet Lighting in Sunrise, Florida. Most DJs and other entertainment pros are very familiar with Chauvet. But in case you live in a cave just know that Chauvet is a leader in the entertainment lighting industry.
A big part of my job at Chauvet will be to do what I have always done – connect with you, fellow DJs musicians, event planners, everyone – to share our experiences and explore ways lighting can enhance your gigs and venues and help make you more money. So for those of you who don’t know me, I thought I would share a little bit about my journey to Chauvet and my first impressions of being the new guy here. So please allow this little travelogue to serve as an introduction. But let’s back up a bit to the beginning.
Hi! I’m Geoff Short and I’m the Assistant Marketing Manager/Customer Engagement & Education here at Chauvet Lighting. That’s a mouthful so for a while, feel free to call me the New Guy.
If you’ve ever read any of my writing for MobileBeat, you may know that up until last week, I was the Sales and Promotions Manager for Jerry Bruno Productions, Northeast Ohio’s largest live music entertainment company. I am also a DJ/MC and was the Band Leader for The Avenue, one of JBP’s busiest special event dance bands. As a DJ and Band Leader, Chauvet has always been a pantheon of gear to me (I hope “pantheon” means something big and cool and kind of imposing, because that’s what I mean). A mystical, big company with an exotic name somewhere far away in the land of Oz that magically produces lights that I frequently salivate over (and often have considered trading one or both of my kids for). I am a Chauvet customer – a DJ from Cleveland who, like the gear junkie I am, still experiences that rush when that Chauvet box finally arrives at my door. But I never could have imagined actually sitting at a desk – my own little piece of Chauvet Real Estate – as an employee.
But here I sit.
It was kind of a whirlwind process getting here. I sent in a resume kind of on a whim. I knew the company was in Florida and I lived in Cleveland. But I really respected Chauvet as a customer and learned of a possible opportunity there. Imagine my surprise when I got a call just a couple hours later! That call (on a Friday) set up a phone interview on the following Monday. On Tuesday I found myself on a plane heading to Florida. I was thrilled to meet the people I met and tour the facility, but I was also nervous. This was getting real. I got back on a plane and was home the same night. To make a short story even shorter, I accepted a job offer and became an employee of Chauvet Lighting! Of course the challenge was that I had to leave everything in Cleveland behind. My band, my old job, DJ gigs and most importantly, my family (at least temporarily – we’re flying back and forth a bit until things can get settled), all left behind to take advantage of this amazing opportunity to connect to fellow DJs, bands, event planners and club owners everywhere about their experiences and how Chauvet can help make them better. It wasn’t an easy decision, but it was the right one for me and my family.
After 1 week I can honestly say that I am thrilled to be here. I think the main thing you can take away from only one week on any job is your impression of the people you work with. To me, that is a huge indicator of how you will like working for a company. I always thought the best way to interview someone would be to play some sort of board game or charades or something to see how funny, competitive, petty or whatever else emerges whenever people relax a bit and play. The people all over this building in every department have been incredible. Warm, friendly, wiling to help, generous with their time, funny. Honeymoon period though this may be, I know this is going to be great. You know how it is when you’re the new person. Part of your orientation consists of spending time with people in other departments to learn as much as possible about the company. This is invaluable stuff for the new person, but kind of a pain for everyone else. As the new person you can’t help but feel like you’re imposing on people’s busy schedules. I’ve been the person called upon to help orient a new employee. Have you ever tried explaining what you do all day every day to someone who has no clue about what you do? It’s hard. Nobody wants to talk about their jobs – they just want to do them. But here at Chauvet, everyone has been welcoming and informative and I’ve really appreciated that. So far so great.
So I’m here in South Florida working at a great company. This is a cool, progressive, creative place and we want you pros to get involved. I’m here to continue to learn from all of you so let’s talk! I’m at firstname.lastname@example.org. Because I’m so excited about everything, I’m leaving you with just a few highlights of my first week at Chauvet:
• After a Human Resources orientation, looked for the men’s room and accidentally walked into a closet. Strangely enough, I had no trouble finding the snack machine.
• Made a great impression on everyone on day 2 by wearing a pair of headphones made by a competing company. In my defense, I needed to watch training videos and they were they only pair I had at the time. But they will never see the light of day again.
• Had to set up various new passwords for new email and computer accounts and promptly forgot them all. I think I accidentally tried to hack into the CIA website.
• Really looked forward to gloating around my new co-workers here in South Florida about the Cleveland Cavaliers beating the Miami Heat when the Cavs had a 27 point lead in the 3rd quarter. Instead walked into work in shame as the Heat Streak continued and LeBron got the last laugh over Cleveland…again. Really Cleveland? Blew a 27 point lead? You betcha!
Seriously…learning incredible things about incredible products with incredible people. And that’s always worth locking myself in a closet or two.
And screw the Cavs.