The New York Life Newsroom is running a regular series that focuses on how our people are living and working in these challenging times. Here’s our conversation with Darren Johnson, Marketing Senior Associate, who talks about his moving from the city to the suburbs while sheltering in place. Darren has been with the company for 22 years and is based in our New York City Home Office.
1. Let’s start easy: How are you?
Well, it’s Friday, sunny, and I have plans for the weekend for a change, so I am feeling good right now. I’m getting out of the house!
2. Can you describe your role?
I work in the Marketing department and am responsible for supporting the Digital Asset Management system, which houses digital content shared onto internal and external marketing channels. I also manage video content for our agent and field management team.
3. Who are you sheltering in place with?
I live alone, so I’ve mostly been by myself. Thankfully, I have friends who live not too far from me and we hang out in the evenings when we can (socially distancing, of course!).
4. What does your day look like now?
Right now, every day feels the same! My day starts at about 7 a.m. with breakfast and then I log onto my computer around 8 a.m. I’m working on a huge project right now, so I’ve been pretty busy. I still try and wrap up the day around 5 p.m.
5. What do you miss most about the office?
Most of all, I miss the people and interacting with my colleagues. Seeing people on video is ok, but it’s just not the same.
6. What has been good about working from home? What has inspired you? What innovations have you or others adopted to make it easier?
Thank goodness we have Skype—it makes such a difference! Prior to this I worked from home two days a week, so it was a pretty smooth transition for me.
7. What was your experience with moving while sheltering in place?
In April, I moved from the Bronx to Wappingers Falls, New York, which is a more rural area, and it’s like night and day—it’s been a bit of an adjustment. My move was planned back in February so of course I was thrown a curveball come March when the sheltering in place started. I was concerned about how my move would go. My first concern was would I even be able to move at all! My next concern was how it would work logistically since moving companies were closed. When the time did come for me to move, I recruited three of my nephews and I borrowed my cousin’s van. Thankfully I wasn’t moving any furniture, so I didn’t need a truck. We made it work in the end.
8. What have you learned about yourself over the past few months?
So much has changed in my life but what stands out to me is my appreciation for nature. Moving from the city to a very rural environment allows me to be very close to nature every day and I love it.
9. What are you watching, reading, playing, or listening to as a reprieve?
I’ve been binge-watching Looney Toons cartoons! I’ll put them on, put the TV on mute, and play my music in the background. I’ve also been watching “Hogan’s Heroes” and “The Andy Griffith Show.”
10. What are your go-to comfort foods during the lockdown?
I have been eating a lot of seafood, of all things. Crab legs, shrimp, fish—all good. I’ve also been eating a lot of ice cream lately! Stewart’s ice cream is the best—I have a box of cones in the pantry and a gallon of ice cream in the freezer!
11. How exactly would you describe your corona-era wardrobe?
Lots of sweatpants, T-shirts, and sneakers. If I do go out, I try to put on something nice with casual shoes, just to break things up.
12. What’s on top of your to-do list when all of this is over?
I cannot wait to go to Katz’s deli again! Nothing like an overstuffed corned beef sandwich from Katz’s.
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