I’m excited. I’m ready. I sit down at my home workstation, meticulously prepped the night before with any and all office supplies I had around my house (not many), and open my shiny new Mac. It’s my first day at my new job, fully remote and during a global pandemic.
“I got this,” I think to myself and sign into my set-up-by-IT user account.
“Microsoft Outlook | loading…”
Microsoft Outlook?! Webex?! Where’s Gmail and Zoom?? Maybe I don’t have this?
Finding a job during the Pandemic
I’m sure my story is not unique – over 20 million Americans have lost their jobs since COVID-19 hit the US. But many companies have continued to hire through the crisis. I was laid off from the tech startup where I was working at the beginning of the pandemic, along with about 33% of the company. However, I was fortunate enough to be hired at Bluescape within a month. Most of my colleagues who were also laid were similarly fortunate. They, too, have landed on their feet.
But what’s it like to start a new job–never having met any of your co-workers in person (all interviews were over Zoom)–while it feels like the whole world is falling apart?
Starting a new remote job
Unfamiliar tools were just the beginning. I found myself wondering how to convert the usual steps I took at a new job in the physical world and translate them to a virtual one. For example, I usually would set up informal coffee chats with everyone I would be working with in a close capacity. How do I mimic that in a virtual world without being overly corny or time-wasting, I wondered?
How do I recreate the real world experience of bumping into someone in the kitchen and forging a relationship? Or running over to someone’s desk for a quick question or opinion?
Furthermore, how do I make my presence relevant or seen, especially if my role is heavily external-facing?
I’m still grappling with finding answers to these questions. However, having an open, friendly, and smaller team has been invaluable to my onboarding process. Through happy hours, dumb jokes in Slack, quick check-in’s, and simply working together, I’ve found myself feeling more sure-footed with every day that passes, in both what I’m doing as well as my relationships.
Tips for remote workers starting a new job
My advice for anyone starting a new job during these very weird times is simple.
Ask lots of questions
Be very comfortable with embracing the uncomfortable
Set up informal coffee chats with your new co-workers
Lakshmi Ganne is a marketing professional, working as a Digital Marketing Specialist for Bluescape. At Bluescape she focuses on website, email, and ad marketing. When not working, she loves spending time with her dog.
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