Starting a new job in the middle of a global pandemic – not something I had on my bucket list, unsurprisingly. It means you spend most of your early days hoping that your new role isn’t going to vanish along with the tourists on Oxford Street.
However, I was one of the lucky ones.
I got a call from Electric Glue, just as the pandemic started to hit, to reassure me that it would be all OK, while I was still running around trying to pull TV campaigns and hadn’t had a chance to think that far ahead.
So while the team couldn’t have done more to reassure me and as much as you want to believe everything will be fine, all my fingers and toes were crossed for about two months!
The closer I got to my first day and with no sign of any issues and much appreciated ample reassurance, it started to feel more real. The moment it hit me that it would all be OK was when I received the delivery of my laptop and some lovely goodies – the wait was over and I couldn’t be happier to get started, even if it was from my sofa.
I had spent a fair bit of last year working from home due to a pretty severe skiing injury, the surgery that followed a year later and due to a wonderfully supportive agency who encourage remote working where suitable. So, I felt I had this working from home malarkey down.
However, it’s not quite the same when you haven’t actually met the people before.
It makes it much harder to casually stroll over to Jamie in accounts to ask a favour or drop into conversation, “so what on earth did that mean?” after a confusing client meeting.
But I am very lucky to have good wi-fi. I haven’t had to take on the role of home-school teacher to small human beings as well as being a media planner and I’m not living with nightmare housemates or working from a bedroom without a window.
I have missed the pub on a Friday night and at times it has been lonely and uncertain, but there are definitely pros of starting in lock down, such as:
- Lots of the awkward bits of starting a new job are avoided/postponed; the how-early-do-I-turn-up-on-my-first-day-to-look-keen-but-not-weird, the what-do-I-wear-on-my-first-day (smashual is still an art), doing the new commute for the first time (now from bed to kitchen table via the shower is much nicer than the northern line during peak summer)
- You have more time to think, process all the new information and it forces you to be super proactive
- People have their names next to their faces on calls, so no awkward misnaming’s occur – a great benefit when you have name amnesia like me
While it hasn’t been quite the start that I’d planned when I accepted a role and I’m still torn on whether video calls are a saviour or a burden, it hasn’t been all doom and gloom.
For anyone out there who is starting a new job during lockdown, whether due to losing their job or just inconvenient timing, there is hope... it will be fine. I think we are going to miss the rogue child/dog/cat addition to meetings by the end of this!
Lexi Booker, client lead at Electric Glue.