A little steam train

“April Fools, we haven’t really hired you” were the words I dreaded as I walked through Purple’s doors for my first day of work on the 1st April 2019. Nine months later, I am still here with a huge amount of knowledge and new experiences in tow. When I told my new colleagues that my role was ‘Purple Tuesday Officer’, they jokingly teased “so, you only have to work one day a year”. 450 days a year is nearer the truth!

Since very early on, I have been a little steam train chugging away in the background of Purple Tuesday. I have taken on many tasks where I have learned as I go, such as updating and managing the website, creating new assets and editing various media content, using only YouTube and Google as my guidance. As a result I have learned a lot and despite being far from a web designer, graphic designer or content producer, I seem to be becoming the first port of call of these sorts of tasks within Purple, so I must be doing relatively well at it nonetheless.

As much as I love doing creative tasks, you can only imagine the level of administrational tasks! I created the go-to spreadsheet for Purple Tuesday, formalised the registration process, created templates and oversaw the rapidly growing Purple Tuesday inbox for the swarm of daily “that’s an excellent question” email and telephone requests. Although thanks to the tremendous increase in registrations, I did have to enlist some extra help from my colleagues to keep me afloat over the last two weeks in the lead up to Purple Tuesday.

“Many hands make light work” is how the saying goes. The help from my peers was a great support and I simply couldn’t have processed all that needed to be done on my own, but ‘make light work’ it certainly did not. We were excitedly overwhelmed by the number of registrations coming our way. It was a truly wonderful thing for Purple Tuesday, but an administrational challenge from behind the scenes! That being said, with a lot of will power and team work, we managed to process everything and in time for the big day – miracles really do happen!

With the tiny sheds of left over time I had spare, I did my best to put myself out there as much as possible. To help not only boost my own confidence, but to help guide others and help them better understand Purple Tuesday and what it would mean to take part.

I presented on various occasions, both with Mike and on my own, on one occasion, in front of 200 peering eyes! I also claimed my five minutes of fame when I featured on BBC News as a Purple representative discussing accessibility on the high street and even gave a couple of radio interviews!

It’s fair to say that I have experienced far more than I expected when I began my Purple journey, but it has been a fantastic ride and I cannot wait to jump back on that steam train although it will need to go a little faster than chug!

Nikita Archer
Purple Tuesday Officer
14 January 2020

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