Starting a New Job in the Wake of a Global Pandemic

Starting a new job can certainly be stressful and scary. Doing so in the wake of a global pandemic…all bets are off!

Prior to joining OGK, I was working completely remote for almost a year before going back into the office two days a week. Fast forward to my first day at OGK — about one month ago — and there I was, all masked up (and vaccinated) and walking into a brand new agency, having not yet settled into the world’s “new normal.”

In addition to not knowing what to expect, I was experiencing the nerves that so inevitably come with making a big change.

Having the ability to meet new people in person is not something I ever thought I would have taken for granted, but after a year filled with entirely “virtual” relationships and introductions, I was excited to be seeing people face-to-face again. 

I had gotten used to working in a quiet space, soothed by the sound of my dog’s snoring and the occasional hum of lawnmowers in the background. Now, I would be working in an office, five days a week, with a dozen people just a few steps away.

Some of the things I won’t miss are the chronicles of daily Zoom disasters and mishaps, such as (but not limited to) connection issues (especially during large presentations) and unpredictable meeting interrupters like barking dogs (much louder than snoring), ringing doorbells and the sights and sounds of family members in the background (oblivious to the fact that you’re on a call…let alone a video!).

Any of these sound familiar?!?!

Getting settled in a new job environment

Everybody I told that I was starting a new job had advice for me. Some of it was helpful, but one piece of advice in particular, really stood out: “Keep quiet on your first day. Let them talk; you just listen.”

When I showed up that day, I definitely wanted to absorb as much as possible. I sat, listened, and took notes. After the first few hours, I already had a million questions, so I started to make a list and decided I would wait a few days before asking them.

Half way through the day, however, my manager and our CEO asked for my thoughts. They wanted to hear what I had to say. Did I have any questions? Did I have any concerns? So I unloaded, asking anything and everything I could think of.

I was amazed by how conversational and collaborative the environment was; not only the internal meetings, but even those with clients. My questions were welcomed and answered, and my feedback and insights were sought and valued.

This surprised me because I was the new girl, and nobody really knew me yet. 

I learned more on that first day than I could have imagined and walked in that next day feeling way more comfortable and confident.

First Lesson: Don’t be afraid to ask questions

Some companies designate a period of time for new employee orientation, shadowing and training, while others might want you to jump right in and get started. In an agency setting, you’re in the deep end on day one.

Of course, no one expects you to know everything right away. Although, I will say that it’s a good idea to come in prepared, having done your research. Most of the time, your employer anticipates that you will have questions, so it’s better to ask them in the very beginning. That’s the best way to set yourself up for success.

Learning the right way to do things will help prevent and minimize mistakes (which will happen — we all make them). There are no dumb questions, especially early on. What is dumb is pretending you know the answers to things that you do not. That is a recipe for failure and potential disaster. One of the best ways to learn and avoid these problems is to ask questions from the get-go and share your thoughts where possible.

Asking questions also shows that you are eager to learn and showing initiative.

Remember to be yourself in your new job environment!

I am not the quiet type. Dialogue is usually what works best for me. If that’s not your style, that’s okay! But know who you are and how you most effectively communicate and learn.

Walking through the doors of OGK on my first day, thinking that I had to be quiet was not something I was thrilled about. Again, it wasn’t my nature, and pretending to be something I wasn’t would be a challenge. Thankfully, I didn’t have to fake it for long. OGK welcomed me with open arms and encouraged me to be myself. After all, they hired me for me, not for me to be someone else!

I realize that not all companies and employers are wired that way but regardless, to position yourself for success, you’ve got to be yourself. One month in, and I already feel at home here at OGK. The company is filled with incredibly friendly, fun and talented individuals.

What makes that even more special for me is that OGK is a creative agency and I am one of the only people here without a creative background. I didn’t go to design school. I don’t code. But here I am…the newest member of the OGKrew and, officially, an OGK Account Manager!

So, yes, starting a new job does sound scary, but I’m walking proof that it can be exciting, too. Remember to be curious. Remember to ask questions. And remember to not only be yourself, but to be the best version of yourself every day.

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