Starting A New Job During A Pandemic
A co-written article by a CEO & a First Time Job Holder
A CEO Perspective: I have been thinking about the younger members of my team as well as the younger and newer members of your teams. Mainly the ones that are in their first professional position or starting their dream job during a pandemic outbreak where we are all forced to work from home.
My initial inspiration for writing this article came from the newest member of my team. She is a young woman who has been beyond excited about her new role. She joined ATC this past summer and jumped into the position of Production and Marketing Associate with drive and enthusiasm. We had an extremely busy summer, fall and winter. Like most people that join our company it is a bit of trial by fire. You have to learn in real time, not be afraid to ask questions but also be resilient and able to problem solve. Sink or swim… Her energy and excitement for learning is infectious and she has ultimately been swimming!
However, now that she is not in the office working amongst peers and advisors her demeanor while still very optimistic is of someone who is feeling lost and nervous. My guess is this is a universal feeling for even the most seasoned of us.
However, our experience provides us with the grit and fortitude to know we will weather this moment in time and come out of it possibly a little beat up, but we will survive and even benefit, or, pivot.
The younger newer members of the team do not have this same life experience and therefore have no ability to forecast their outcome and opportunity. Leaving them on a roller coaster of emotions.
While our culture is strong and based on open communication these times call for different measures.
A Newbies Perspective: As the newest member of the All Terrain team I have been tasked to do any number of jobs. Anything from being a concierge for the GoodYear Blimp and Oscar Meyer Weinermobile that All Terrain helped transform into short term rentals for Airbnb to managing photographers and models during a Ferrari Launch in Miami to being a stand in for a Stacys Pita Chip Video where I played the role of a graphics installer.
So to say that my job is one in a million is an understatement.
These hands on tasks, though they may be crazy at the time, really build my confidence and make me feel like there is nothing I can’t handle. The last 10 months have been, as Brook would say “trial by fire” and I have loved the work and experiences that being a part of All Terrain has granted me.
The newest task is one that I have never in my life faced before, working completely remote in a house with my parents.
This is my first position out of college and I have a lot of questions when it comes to my job. I am excited and eager to do my job properly and not to let any of my team members down.
I want to be helpful without being obnoxious, I want to be thoughtful when I am not 100% sure of the process, and I want to be proactive, but often don’t completely know what the act is. This is the balance that gives me feelings of uncertainty during this time.
When I went into work I was able to shoot questions back and forth with colleagues, I was given tasks that I knew how to conquer, and I worked long days on site that made me feel I was a valued member of the team. Working remotely has damaged my confidence because I don’t know how to ‘swim’ by myself in the experiential field yet.
Where I am at this point is that I know I can be successful. If I can quiet all of the what ifs and whys in my head, If I keep working hard, I can make it to the other side.
Once this all passes I know that I will continue to grow my knowledge and skill in the field, but for now it is my determination and stubbornness that keeps me going. I will finish the task at hand, and for anyone else in a similar position, we must continue to try.
Response from CEO: Co-writing this article with Riley was enlightening and I so appreciate her honesty and vulnerability. I wanted to come up with a list of things I know will help support her and the new members of our team. I wanted to share them with you, and hope it helps.
What can we do to help our younger & newer colleagues while working from home?
- Daily 10 minute one on one checks ins on video: These should be between managers and direct reports. via videoconference. Here you can see their body language and see how they are holding up physically and emotionally.
- Culture and storytelling: Have the newest member of the team set up coffee or lunch meetings also via video conference with more senior people at the company to share insight on their job and their experience with the company and industry. This kind of thing may have happened naturally in an office setting, but for now, it is something that needs to be scheduled.
- Thoughtful agendas and task lists: One of the biggest mistakes I have made as a leader is assuming people understand what I am asking of them. Younger talent may be too shy or afraid to ask qualifying questions. They probably don’t even know the questions to ask. So walking through the daily/weekly/monthly agenda or to-do list and making sure everyone understands the tasks, the reason why we are doing something, the language and the process of achieving the task is all very critical.
- Share articles and books: This can help get new colleagues grounded in the industry they work in.
- Ask them for ideas around new business: The adage that great ideas can come from anywhere is an adage because it is true!
- Get them involved in your company social media: The 20–30 years olds grew up on social media and they are the masters. This group will have great ideas on how to keep your company relevant and your audiences engaged.
- Weekly/ Bi-weekly company town halls & happy hours: While I know this is already a thing. I can see the faces of the team light up when they see each other. Socializing builds company culture. The Town Halls keep everyone informed of the state of the union during this uncertain time.
Here’s to us all figuring it out in real time together! If you have any questions or want to share your best practices, please reach out!