New Opportunities During Unusual Times…
In case you guys weren’t aware, I started a new job during a pandemic. Last year, just before my 30th birthday, I handed in my notice to start a new role. It was right before Christmas and at the height of another lockdown for us here in the UK. This meant that there was no way I was going to be going into the office for my first day or anytime soon. Even to this day, I’ve not been passed the reception.
My situation is not unusual. I know there are so many people who, like me, have had career moves and pivots during this time. One of my best friends has recently started a new role and I have another friend going through the interview process. It’s scary and weird. However, after a couple of months into the role, I’m starting to find my feet.
Something I found in the weeks before starting my new role was that there weren’t many resources on the subject. Now, this is a new situation, so obviously there’s not a lot of information on the matter. But with Ms Rona not going anywhere anytime soon and the reality that ‘normal’ office life might not be a thing in 2021, it’s going to become more common. So, now that I’ve settled in and gone through the process, I’d thought I’d share with you my top tips for starting a new job during a pandemic (hint, hint. It’s mostly time and patience)…
DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS… A LOT OF THEM.
Usually, in the first weeks of starting a job, you’re observing. Not just how you do your job, but little things, like who to speak to about certain things, what processes you go through to complete certain tasks. This is not possible when you work from home, when you cannot observe people working at their desk, overhear things. The only way to get these questions, lots of them. You’re going to feel like you’re bugging them, pestering people. But you are honestly not. Colleagues will understand and will be patient with you. Your manager will be expecting you to ask all the questions and then some.
It may help to ask your manager to send you a directory, a bible of who does what before you start. This helps with that feeling of constantly nagging the wrong person for the answer.
EVERYTHING IS GOING TO A LITTLE SLOWER.
The one thing I’ve struggled with is tasks that would normally take me no time at all are moving a lot slower. This is because it’s new systems, new places to grab resources from. Again, things you would normally pick up from observing colleagues or a simple lean over to the next desk. Patience is not in my name or manner but it’s been tested these past couple of weeks. There is a tendency to feel that you’re not doing your job correctly due to how slow you’re going. But you are and again, everyone understands these are unusual times and that it’s not a normal start to a job. So take your time and know that gradually, you’ll pick things up. In no time, you’ll be whizzing through things and finding your feet.
TAKE EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO CONNECT WITH COLLEAGUES.
The final thing to consider when starting a new job during a pandemic is connecting with new colleagues in different ways. The best advice I have for this is to take on every opportunity to speak to everyone. See if your manager is willing to schedule 121 meetings over Zoom or the phone so you can speak to them about their role and the job. Also, don’t be afraid to talk about non-work things. Much like in the office where you’d talk about the evening before or that must-watch TV show, it’s important to include these in your everyday conversations. It will make it easier when you can all finally work together in the same office, you won’t feel like you’re starting afresh again.