Starting a new job in the midst of a pandemic – here’s what it’s like

My decision to change jobs

After much deliberation and thought, and after almost 21 years with the same company, I decided to hand in my notice (3 months) and start afresh somewhere else.

I decided to join another firm of accountants local to my home as the commute into central Manchester was one of the main factors of handing in my notice. I was extremely excited as well as apprehensive and scared.

The shock of Covid-19

During my 3 months notice, with literally two weeks to go, the country went into lockdown because of Covid 19!

I had to work from home which was not a problem to me as I was used to doing this but the thought of leaving my safe, secure job and then maybe not having a new job to go to was the most frightening experience of my life.

I have always worked and been extremely independent. In fact, I was 12 years old when I started my first job and have never been out of work since, whether it be school and another job, college and another job or having two jobs literally!

My new job

To my delight and relief, I was still offered the job at the new accountancy practice. Phew!  Now to prove my worth working from home and building up the trust of my new bosses and colleagues.

My first day was in the office for a ‘one to one’ welcome meeting – social distancing of course – which was very strange in itself but it all went extremely well.

Starting a new job can be overwhelming after making such a huge leap but dealing with it during a pandemic and lockdown is a different ball game altogether. You are totally isolated from your new colleagues and have not got the comfort of asking a question across the table – no matter how big or small that question may be.

Learning new software with a different computer/laptop was also challenging but with my experience and knowledge I overcame my worries and fears. Fortunately, I have had the advantage of familiarising myself with all my new tools and not having the pressures of rushing which has been a tremendous help to me. Whilst it has been challenging at times, my new colleagues have been great at asking if I need help.

I was a little worried about how I would fit in at the office and having to present myself under these circumstances which was daunting but the one saving grace has been the weekly zoom meetings that we have.

 

The whole of the team are all very approachable and friendly and I feel like I have been part of the team for years. I really enjoy these meetings and try to get involved as much as I can so I can be part of the discussions and decision making.

Lockdown

I think anyone starting a new job during lockdown misses the buzz that is there for the first couple of days when you are new – the new routine, the chats, the lunches. It’s the small rituals we miss out on now.

However, this is something happening to so many people as a result of a global pandemic and if it means that I miss out on certain aspects of in-person training in order to keep myself and others safe, then that’s a choice I’m more than happy to make.

Being on lockdown, means that I cannot meet my new clients but again, because of my experience over the years, have contacted them via email or phone, introduced myself and had a long chat with them. I am really missing face to face contact with everyone at the office and being able to discuss any new ideas I have, discussing my role and proving my worth to the practice but that will hopefully come in time.

On the flip side of the coin, it has also been a very pleasant experience. Starting a new job, after such a long time in the previous one, is both challenging and stressful, but I have been able to ease myself into my new routine – as I am used to working both remotely and independently, so this was fairly easy for me to get on with.   My new employers have been very encouraging and patient and sympathised with me over my new role and any potential hurdles that I may or may not have had to overcome.

I think out of the first seven weeks at Huddarts I have only felt low and flat probably twice – not because of the work or the company, but because of the situation and circumstances that I find myself in.

It’s amazing what a pizza can do …

A poignant moment of my time at Huddarts was when Tom and Charles sent an email to each and every member of the team and said that we could order a large pizza for each of us and our family from the local Italian restaurant.

A small gesture – but meant the world to me.   Really boosted morale and felt a lot of appreciation from both directors.  I really do not feel under any pressure at all. My new employers encourage me to talk about any problems or concerns I may have. Something I have not experienced before!

Diane Mills