Contracting Covid last week reminded me of becoming a parent. You spend months preparing for it to happen, reading a ton, and hearing everyone else’s advice, but then once it happens to you, you have no clue what to do next.
I should start off here by apologizing to my daughter. Her arrival in the world was not exactly like a bout with a pandemic.
I stand by the analogy though.
It’s thanks to my daughter that I even found out that I had Covid. I was about to chaperone her school trip last Wednesday morning, but I felt congested starting the night before, and the responsible thing to do the next morning was to self-test.
The tests make it seem like you have to wait 10 to 20 minutes. The “C” (for “control”) tends to appear right away, but there’s that 15-minute window where you have the suspense.
On my test, the “T” line appeared in royal purple the moment the solution started spreading along the detection strip. It happened so fast that I grabbed a different brand of test from the cabinet. It wasn’t so much that I thought I couldn’t get Covid; it was that the first purple line appeared so quickly that I assumed the test had to be broken.
On the second test, the “T” appeared just as quickly. Covid protocols began.
Instantly, I contacted my daughter’s teacher to let her know my daughter and I weren’t going on the trip. My daughter asked, “Am I going to school tomorrow?” I told her, “You know I’ll always be honest with you however I can. I have no clue what’s happening five minutes from now, let alone tomorrow.”
Her response: “Dada, you can curse now.”
Then, I had to work in three timelines at once.
There was the past, contacting the two people I had met up with in person the day before, when I was asymptomatic but almost definitely was a potential spreader. One, who I at least met outside, had to cancel a bunch of plans, and I felt horribly, even if she was beyond gracious; she’s continued to test negative. The other, who I met indoors at a bar for drinks, told me he got Covid a month earlier and would monitor symptoms but felt unfazed.
Then it was the present, like telling the housekeeper not to come, telling my team on Slack that I wouldn’t be chaperoning the trip but had no clue how I’d be doing that day (I hadn’t yet even processed how I was feeling), and arranging for my daughter to spend extra time with her mom.
I also had to process the future. CDC and New York protocols right now recommend (it’s hard to call anything a mandate) isolating for five days after the first test or symptom onset. That would have taken me through Sunday or Monday. Then guidelines say wear a mask when with others for five days more, so that’s through Friday or Saturday. I canceled all in-person plans for the week, even if I could have shown up wearing a mask based on the guidelines. It was the first time I’ve missed First Wednesday in years.
At least I know I’ll be good to make the Cannes Lions this June. Let me know if you’ll be there. And you can also join the #cannes-lions channel in the Slack group to connect with others making plans to go.
What I still can’t wrap my head around is how weird Covid can be, and how even when you think you know what to do, there will always be aspects unique to your situation that require extra research.
One particular thing puzzled me: I had downloaded the NY Covid tracing app. Apparently, it’s useless now. There was no way to report my positive case. When I read up on the NY literature, it said that if you test positive, follow the isolation and quarantine guidelines, but there’s no need to call the Covid hotline. There’s no way Covid case numbers can be anywhere near accurate given how cases like mine can go unreported. It all makes me wonder why I spend so much time following thos tallies.
Covid’s the Anna Karenina of pandemics. Asymptomatic cases are all alike; every symptomatic Covid case is symptomatic in its own way.
Case in point: Last Thursday and Friday I was still feeling off. Wednesday and Thursday were like a bad cold, with some added brain fog. I realized I couldn’t always get to the end of my sentence. Friday was a bit of that, but less of a cold and some dizziness whenever I walked around.
Saturday, I was starting to feel more like myself and took a self-test — two actually. Both were negative. Then I went to an urgent care clinic, and I took both a rapid test and a PCR test. The rapid one came back negative, and the nurse practitioner seemed skeptical that I even had Covid, though my research confirmed that home tests rarely show a false positive when you’re symptomatic, and I did test with two different brands’ kits. Sure enough, the PCR came back positive about 24 hours later. I’d love to ask that nurse practitioner, “How do you like them antibodies?”
I’m not quite that petty to try to do a victory lap; as I wrote this, just thinking about running a lap made me feel out of breath. I do hope he saw the results though and maybe won’t be so dismissive of the next patient whose symptoms don’t run the gamut of the Covid hall of fame.
By the time this is published, my official isolation period is over. I will still be holding off seeing others in person for a bit. Even after all of this is done, I’m wearing a mask on subways, planes, and other crowded places. The immunocompromised deserve protection too, and while I am unlikely to spread Covid for a while, there are a ton of other bugs I’ll be less likely to spread or contract thanks to wearing a mask.
Please be safe. I know I’m not the only person who has been in a Covid-heavy city like New York knowing tons of people with it and wondering if they’d ever get it. I’d imagine there are fairly few of us who are naturally immune and never will get it. I probably just missed being directly exposed all this time, and maybe I was lucky for years until I wasn’t.
It’s still a pandemic. We can still keep ourselves healthy. We can still let our guard down and wind up among the Covid-positive no matter how cautious we had been for how long. And we can still do a lot to keep each other safer.
I’d be remiss not to add a brief message about Sean Finnegan who passed last week. It’s rare to see someone in their working prime pass and yet not be associated with a single company or job title.
He was Sean Finnegan, and he was so much more than any role he had, though no role was greater than his presence as a husband and as a father to his seven children.
For the most meaningful tribute to him, see this site his family put together.
Adweek’s David Kaplan penned a thoughtful piece about his life, including a number of tributes.
I can’t believe he’s gone, at age 50 no less — we should have had at least double that amount of time with him here.
On LinkedIn, I shared this:
I didn’t know there was anyone on LinkedIn who I had more than 1,000 shared connections with, but I’m not surprised it’s Sean Finnegan as I see the reams of tributes pour in.
His presence and generous spirit were a gift to all of us, and the ad industry was lucky to have him as a mentor, advocate, leader, and friend.
On Facebook, I added:
Seeing all these tributes to Sean Finnegan right on the heels of John Durham’s passing and not too far removed from the loss of Tim McHale, it’s devastating to feel these losses. Yet it’s so important to remember how many truly good-hearted people (‘gute neshamas,’ or good souls, as my grandmother would say in Yiddish) who we get to work with. Some of these lights shine especially bright and it feels all the darker when they’re gone, but they pass those torches to so many others, so their impact keeps magnifying year after year.
Be sure to thank those whose lights have burned brightest for you so they can feel that warmth while we are together here.
There’s something especially tough when someone like Sean passes. He’s not just an industry friend, but seeing how he brought people together, lit up a room, and made time for everyone — his family above all — he’s a role model and inspiration.
He’ll be missed by so many for so long, and we were all so lucky to have him.
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Also, check out the Serial Marketers job board.
Other job resources:
- AMA Job Board: Listings from the American Marketing Association (maybe you can also ask them anything)
- Beeler.Tech: Job listings for ad operations, programmatic account management, sales operations, and more.
- Braintrust: A freelance platform where you are the owner and where freelance talent keeps 100% of the bill rate.
- Built in NYC: Jobs at a range of levels and functions, as long as you’re okay working in this quaint, backwater hamlet.
- Content Writing Jobs: Content marketers, enjoy
- Creative Women of Color: List yourself in the database and find talent, via Women Who Create
- Demand Curve: Growth and marketing jobs
- ExecThread: Senior roles spanning a range of verticals and cities; membership is free but fully vetted (this uses my referral ID to get you in faster)
- Gently Ventures: Helps scale businesses by finding the right talent
- Growth Collective: Apply to join this network of notable freelance marketers
- Grace Blue Transitions: A portal for hirers and seekers with resources from this exec recruiting firm
- The Hired Guns: An array of jobs in marketing and related fields at brands, agencies, and media companies
- Hue: Amplifying voices of people in color working in marketing
- Lunch Club: Match 1:1 around predetermined goals with accomplished professionals (free)
- NYC Ad Jobs & Networking: A popular Facebook group
- One Club for Creativity: COVID-19 jobs Board
- #OpenToWork: There’s a channel in Serial Marketers where you can share what you’re looking for
- Pangea: Hire college freelancers (and college students can get gigs)
- Pocit: A platform connecting people of color with jobs in the tech industry
- Questions to Ask for a Marketing Role: What questions should you ask when starting a new marketing role or job?
- Serial Marketers Job Board: Post regular and featured listings and subscribe for updates.
- Startup.Jobs: There’s a section for marketing jobs
- Teal: One place to organize and manage your job search.
- TechNY Daily: While more technical, there are also some sales and marketing jobs at NY startups.
- VC Job Boards: Aleph, Eniac Ventures, Pear, Sequoia, Union Square Ventures
- VentureLoop: Free startup job listings; their paid option is $15/month and might surface more leads (but it might not).
- Venwise: Submit your job interests here and get in front of their roster of hiring leads; select “Serial Marketers” under “How did you find us”
Do you run or enjoy other job listing sites? Let me know, and I’ll share them.
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