Update: Next Jump created a fund entitled “Forgotten Ones Fund”. Once the fund was created, NextJumpers quickly nominated hourly workers throughout NY and NJ who lost wages during Hurricane Sandy. The distribution of the envelopes began early this week, click here to learn about the Forgotten One’s stories.
How it impacted Next Jump
Hurricane Sandy brought our New York office to a standstill. Our building located in the Flatiron district lost power when the storm hit. Most of our employees lost power in their apartments as well. We are fortunate to have offices in Boston, London, and San Francisco. With much of New York shut down, our Boston office became the temporary command center for the company. We set about trying to reach all NextJumpers from the NY office to make sure everyone was ok. We were anxious because many people, including our CEO, were not reachable by cell phone. An organic movement of individuals reaching out to colleagues began and after numerous word-of-mouth reports everyone was accounted for. One colleague had escaped the storm by driving to a friend’s house in Ohio. Another was last known finding shelter in the middle of Staten Island. The storm was particularly difficult for parents. We heard about our chief of staff, a mother of two (3 year old and 5 month old boys), who walked down 47 flights of stairs with her husband and two children to drive to her parents’ home in Massachusetts. There were also many NextJumpers’ family members affected by Sandy - parents in Staten Island, Westchester and Rockaway Beach who suffered severe flood damage to their homes.
Photo taken from the home of one of our Next Jumpers in Rockaway Beach, NY
How we helped each other
Our colleagues in the Boston office stepped up quickly to make sure business was not interrupted for our clients and users. Folks in every department volunteered to fill any role needed. If they did not have the right skills they were willing to learn. Our lead engineer became the interim head of the customer service team. A senior developer and an associate from our human capital team in Boston morphed into CS associates. The entire NOC team went into overdrive to make sure disaster recovery procedures were underway. Everyone asked “What can I do to help?” A colleague overseas on vacation had heard about the storm and contacted us to ask how he could pitch in. To support the email operations team in Boston, another engineer moved into her in-law’s house so that she would have access to power. That’s dedication! We also heard stories of colleagues helping neighbors in the city. Our SVP of engineering and his wife cared for an elderly couple in their building which had lost power, hot water and heat. People who had power invited colleagues to camp out in their apartment for the week.
How we are helping others
The lights finally turned on in our office building and the homes of most NextJumpers over the weekend. At our company staff meeting on Monday, our CEO challenged us to contribute 10% of our next paycheck into a fund to help people in our extended “Next Jump family”- the people in our lives at work and our communities who were experiencing hardship. While NextJumpers in New York didn’t work last week (couldn’t!), they still got paid. But hourly workers like our delivery man Danny, Gloria our building’s cleaning lady, or Jose our maintenance man also couldn’t work last week, but because their salaries are paid hourly they lost an entire week’s pay. Our collective 10% would enable us to cover that loss of pay for them. In just four days, 30% of our company’s employees gave a portion of their paychecks and contributed to this fund.
Lokeya (right) provides her local D&D coffee-shop-workers funds from Next Jump Employees. Says Lokeya, “I mentioned to them that my company’s employees had put this together. When I explained the details and told them that there was money in this envelope and my company wants to help, they were so happy and said ‘Oh my God’ at least 10 to 15 times.”
I hope we don’t experience another Hurricane Sandy any time soon, but I have to say it has been inspiring to see the different ways people chipped in to help neighbors, colleagues and important, but often forgotten people, in our daily lives.