Navigating a new job is hard--and managing its ups and downs as a new hire during a pandemic is arguably even harder.
When we started college in 2017, we expected to have the typical undergrad experience: we’d enjoy our four years, take inspiring classes, complete some internships, and then launch our careers in a high-rise office in our city of choice.
For the most part, all those assumptions held true. But with the pandemic’s onset about halfway through college, we realized our future careers would be dramatically different than what we’d expected.
After graduating in 2021, we successfully completed summer internships at Enspira and were hired full-time. We both quickly embraced the company’s warm, collaborative culture. But no matter how great the company, navigating a new job is hard, and navigating the ups and downs as a new hire during a pandemic is arguably even harder. We’ve never popped our heads into a colleague’s office to ask a question, or met up with team members for coffee. Some even argue the shift to remote work has stunted new hires’ potential for longterm growth.
Despite the obvious challenges associated with working in unprecedented times, we embrace it as an opportunity for growth and development. In the fledgling age of remote work, we can offer a fresh perspective on what it means to be successful as a new hire.
Here are 10 of our insights:
Whether that means taking professional development courses, attending webinars, or reading books about your industry, keep adding to your arsenal of knowledge. You’ll be acquiring new skills in the meantime, which will help you add value to your company and your own career.
This is especially important in remote work settings. Schedule one-on-ones to cultivate relationships with colleagues early on. And don’t be afraid to reach out to higher-ups—you’ll learn a lot from them, and they’re rarely as intimidating as they might seem!
If you find yourself with downtime, ask colleagues how you can support them—they’ll appreciate the help and extra initiative.
Stress will overwhelm you sometimes. In those moments, take a deep breath and zoom out, and don’t lose sight of the bigger picture. It’s not the end of the world if that presentation isn’t finished before 5 p.m., or if you made a mistake in a client email.
Everyone makes mistakes sometimes. When you do, don’t dwell on it: own it, fix it, and carry on. What really matters isn’t the mistake itself, but how you manage it.
New hires often struggle with newfound responsibility. Instead of letting it intimidate you, own it. Don’t shy away from asking questions, jumping into meetings, and taking command of your own calendar to schedule breaks to re-energize.
Any little win is cause for celebration. Give yourself credit when credit is due—it will create a positive feedback loop and keep you feeling inspired and motivated throughout the day.
It will be easier to connect to your employers, colleagues, and clients by being authentic. (Just make sure you’re being professional.)
This applies to everyone, but it especially applies to women, who tend to say they’re sorry a lot more often than men do. Saying “I’m sorry” is warranted if you accidentally step on someone’s foot or slam a door in their face, but there’s no need to apologize when asking for help or clarification.
A new job can be scary. Remember to have faith in both your own skills and the good will of your colleagues. You were hired because your employers believed you could do the job.So why not believe in yourself too? When you lose confidence, take a step back and try to apply previous knowledge to the current situation. Chances are you know a lot more than you give yourself credit for.
Embrace the process! You’re at work eight-plus hours a day—the least you can do is make it enjoyable.
Starting a first job during a pandemic is challenging. We’ve endured our fair share of hard days, but we’re confident that applying these tips can make your experience as a new hire a positive and rewarding one. After all, they’ve worked for us so far!
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