Come and join us during Covid, they said. It’ll be fine, they said.
And well, actually, they were right. Two months down the line from starting my new role at Richmond & Towers and I can confirm there are worse things than meeting an entire agency via Teams.
So, as I’m not the first and definitely won’t be the last to experience this, I thought I’d share some learnings for those who may be in this position over the coming months.
Firstly, starting a new job remotely is humbling. You suddenly start to feel – despite years of being told (and telling others) that there’s no such thing as a stupid question – as though every question is a stupid question and they’re all swirling around in your head! When every trivial query becomes an email or a call and you can’t just roll over to your friendliest looking desk mate to check a minor detail on a brief, get a read on how scary that scary sounding client email actually is or find where anything is on the server, it can quickly spiral into analysis paralysis and loops of ‘I should KNOW this’.
My advice, is to get over this as quickly as you can. There’s a limited window when you’re the new kid and it’s normal to have questions, so get comfortable with what you don’t know, identify the best people to help, go harder than you might usually do on the ? in your emails. And remember those who went out of their way to welcome you at the start, because you owe them a drink whenever that heavenly time of IRL knock-off socialising re-enters our lives.
Next, we turn our attention to the video call and how to make friends online. If you’re to believe what we’re told about millennials (of which I am one), it’s that we’ve been doing it all our young adult lives so, no problemo, right? But making real and lasting connections with new colleagues despite a half second delay whilst surrounded by housemates also working from home is not entirely undaunting.
Again, my advice is simple. Take a breath and go with the flow. It’s not your job to fill every silence. Give it a few months and you’ll soon become fluent in the team in-jokes that are currently flying over your head. And if, like me, whilst waiting for a video call to commence a new co-worker overhears you asking an off-camera housemate the correct use of ‘mare’* in preparation to tell said new co-worker you’ve been having one, then pray it comes off as endearing.
My final piece of advice is to persevere safe in the knowledge that this won’t be forever. One day, hopefully soon, you’ll know everyone’s Pret order, that tray 2 on the printer is dodgy and, crucially, which mugs are off limits. On this occasion and amidst ‘these uncertain times’, I’m fortunate to have joined a team with personality aplenty, and whose kindness cup is full to the brim, for whom no question is too stupid and always answered with a smile.
And, as it happens, we’re currently on the lookout for a new Social Account Manager so if you’d like to be the next R&T new kid on the block, contact email@example.com
*As an Australian, navigating British slang is an ongoing journey
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