November 15th, 2015 - Reputation

Are you a survivor?

The price of oil. The Canadian dollar. Weird weather. Paris. Welome to the new world order.

Living with someone that works in oil and gas, I feel like I’m on the frontlines of a war with my personal, verbal newsletter of the day’s recent crushing blows to the energy industry, with sidebar updates on all events that are adding to global fear and instability.


A few weeks ago, I read an article about how the daily bad news from the petroleum industry is impacting Albertans psychologically, particularly those who have either lost their jobs or live with worry that they will be next.

I was glad for the story. For people sharing and putting into words the angst of life here in this province at this time.

For a while, folks were putting on brave faces filled with fake optimism. But as time marches on – and more and more people lose their jobs or take cuts to their income to stay employed – the stiff upper lips and jovial denial is being replaced with honesty and straight talk. And that’s what’s going to help us survive.

I’m not one for fake pleasantries and inane small talk, so over the past few weeks, armed with the article, I’ve talked to colleagues, friends and clients about how they are coping. It’s clear the impacts are widespread – from empty restaurants, to cancelled projects, and major spending being delayed until the sun comes out again.

Here are some snippets of what I’ve heard recently:

At our favourite restaurant last week, we chatted with a bartender and found out he’s a project manager for a major energy producer. His work team has gone from 25 to two. With two babies at home, he’s worried for the future so spends a couple of nights a week at his old bartending job.

Over coffee a few days ago, a client talked about her worries, about how she’s taking on work that she would have turned down a few short months ago to keep her employees working and, frankly, to keep food on the table.

Our company’s IT provider sent his regular invoice yesterday. It was a pleasant surprise to see he’d voluntarily reduced his hourly rate by 20 per cent in recognition that these are troubled times and we all must do our part.

These are the stories of survivors. The brave Albertans battling the storm, making it through.

The sun will come out again but, until it does, we need to create our own light, our own optimism. And that takes guts and ingenuity. It means we must make changes to adapt to the current reality. And sometimes that means doing things we don’t really want to do, or are afraid to do. Fear is often borne of not knowing how to navigate the changing landscape. But in downtimes, the market belongs to those that can get past the fear.

Are you a survivor?

PS. At Blackcoffee, we can help you adapt with a smart new game plan suited to today’s economy. We get the new reality and we’re ready to do our part to help you get through these tough times.

With gratitude,

Shannon Larkins

Inspired by a little blackcoffee

Some of my favourite moments are spent in search of something beautiful while I drink my first cup of coffee and hear the house wake up. From there I move on to the paper and the news of the day. In this space, I’ll share some of those inspirations.


Shannon Larkins

Founder, Blackcoffee Studio

Over the course of 15+ years, Shannon has grown Blackcoffee Studio out of a love for building brands and reputations. She serves up Blackcoffee as a morning ritual while caffeinating clients and readers on the regular. You can find her at


Blackcoffee Studio

Blackcoffee is a premium brand development agency, offering luxury brand experience to clients at home in Calgary, Canada and around the globe. Brands create experience, set you apart from the competition and drive growth. Anyone can bulid a business but only the exceptional can create a brand. Are you ready?

Shannon Larkins

Shannon Larkins

Hi I’m Shannon, founder of Blackcoffee Studio. A former reporter, spin doctor and politico, I now focus on using my powers for good.

I create mighty brands for clients and share their stories with the world. I’m also rather addicted to my nutty family, dogs with pushed in faces, Mexico and of course coffee … black.