This article is the first of many reflections I’ll be sharing during my time with Shopee (Singapore, HQ). Follow my #lifeatshopee progress with the new #ShopeeInsider hashtag.
The morning of my first day at Shopee 11 work days ago, I had arrived with wide-eyed excitement. I hadn’t been able to sleep much the night before – I had placed myself in a freelance position for almost a year, and had only been too happy to be around other adults and participate in a proper routine again.
Everything went the same way my first day at kindergarten did (without the crying, of course): I met new people, tried to remember faces, explored the beautiful workplace and attempted to make my work station my own. My boss sat me down for a quick introduction of the various departments, and got me acquainted with my role within the company. I was to tell stories about Shopee, devise my own social media strategies and find ways to make the work environment a livelier one for the ever-increasing employee population, which, by the way, had very diverse interests.
And that was it. That’s how I woke up one morning to find myself bumpily initiated into the mumbo-jumbo world of employer branding.
Anyone who has experienced the same will tell you that it’s difficult. How do I tell stories about a place and people I barely know? How can what I say on behalf of Shopee stand out from what a billion other companies are saying? How can I pull all my sparsely-decorated thoughts together so I can always be at my most productive?
Taking full responsibility of any kind can be intimidating, but being held accountable for producing content for a combined social following (LinkedIn and Instagram) of 65,000+ can be downright crippling. Determining a corporate direction as a 12-day-old hire seems ridiculous, and simultaneously trying to create a brighter, more spirited workplace atmosphere sometimes appears impossible.
So I’m struggling. But I’m also learning to be okay with that.
When David stood in front of Goliath, who was almost double his height and thrice more aggressive, he didn’t have prior experience to rely on. Lions and bears, yes, but not giants like Goliath. All he had in his hands were a catapult and five stones from a nearby brook. He didn’t have time to master a seemingly more powerful weapon (the sword, which was Goliath’s choice of armament), nor the opportunity to sit back and plan his steps.
Yet, David’s heart was strong and his confidence sure. He was okay with the difficulty standing right before his very eyes, and he was okay with having just what he had – a catapult, five stones, memories of past victories and the almighty God. These turned out to be more than enough for bringing Goliath to his knees.
In the same way, I will eventually be able. So I might as well learn to be okay with myself today.
Employer branding is an onerous task. No one said eliciting emotional responses from people was going to be easy, nor that influencing public perceptions of the company was going to happen overnight.
But I’ll start wherever I can, and hopefully one day be able to look back at my starting point with joy and pride.