The Truth About Starting a New Job During Quarantine

At a time where anxieties are heightened and the word “normal” is constantly turned on its head, starting a new job remotely adds a layer of complexity that can be downright terrifying.
Pre-COVID19, my thoughts about the first day at a new job were usually: “what am I going to wear?!” and “what will the office setup be like?” and “I wonder what my colleagues will be like!” During-COVID19, my thoughts about the first day of a new job were “do I need to wear pants or can I get away with this cute top and some dry shampoo?”

In May, I started my dream job at Something Navy. While this was an incredible opportunity for me (I’ve followed Arielle and Team SN for as long as I can remember), the thought of virtual communication and remote work seemed perplexing. A million sub-questions entered my brain that all stemmed from one main concern: how exactly is this going to work?

Fortunately for me, the team at Something Navy was on top of everything. The onboarding process was seamless, they were in constant contact with me the week leading up to my start date and they had a clear schedule for me during my first week. If the level of virtual integration was measured through emojis, this is how they did: 💯💯💯

Photo Via Getty Images

Since the average onboarding experience doesn’t take place in your living room, this new experience may seem daunting, but lucky for you–I’ve got a few tips:

1. Meetings are not a waste of time–they are critical. Have you ever seen those “this entire meeting could have been an email” memes that everyone used to relate to? While funny and somewhat true before a pandemic… this doesn’t spark the same contention for me anymore. Since facetime is limited these days, communication is imperative. It’s easy for certain things to get lost in translation via email, so don’t be afraid to put a meeting on the calendar to discuss a topic at length–it’s not only a good way to bridge the communication gap but also allows you to get to know your colleagues better.

2. Ask questions. Ask a ton of questions. Fortunately for me, the Something Navy team is always ready to help which has helped my transition tremendously. One thing that definitely helps: speaking up and asking questions! Make sure you have access to all the means of your company’s communication channels–Slack, Zoom, Google Hangouts, etc–so you can seamlessly direct your questions to the right contacts.

3. Prioritize company culture. The most challenging part for me during this process was the social aspect. Am I gonna fit in with my team? Am I gonna click and get along with everyone? Thoughts that don’t usually come to mind when I’m about to walk into a new office, ready to meet my colleague and relish in open-office banter, now all of a sudden clouded my mind while I sat in my living room, in and out of Zoom calls, trying to memorize the organizational chart. My advice: be patient, and prioritize understanding the company culture. Whether that’s setting up informal meetings and Zoom happy hours or finding ways to connect with your team outside of work-related topics, be proactive! It might feel awkward to make the effort, but it’s so worthwhile when you get to know a colleague.

Although it’s tough trying to navigate a new job remotely, remember to be patient. It will take time before you feel truly comfortable in your new role. Until then, a little bit of flexibility and patience will go a long, long way!