Workplaces are exactly where we can see our deepest anxieties play out, and where our deepest, darkest fears could be triggered. When I first started working at the new role when the pandemic first broke out, it couldn’t have come at the worst time – everyone was working from home permanently, nobody was around in office and it has remained that way for awhile now, especially with the new Omnicron variant looming in the distance.
How it feels like working in a new role during the pandemic
Oof I felt isolated. I had no idea what I was supposed to do, work-wise. There wasn’t much work for me to do as I was still being eased into the role. What felt worse though was the social isolation from others. People were already familiar with each other, shared insider jokes and common topics of conversation.
The one I struggled with most was the lack of context around when was a good time to approach someone. As I lacked the usual cues as to when someone was free enough to talk or when was a good time to approach them to ask questions. And whether I was annoying them.
It finally dawned on me though that if I didn’t ask or approach anyone to “bother” them, I wouldn’t be able to get anything done. The need to know my work and get stuff done overrode the feelings of guilt at having to constantly ask colleagues questions.
Besides, is there ever a “right” time to ask someone a question? You wouldn’t know that, if you don’t even try asking in the first place.[mailerlite_form form_id=96]
So things to remind yourself if you are finding yourself in a new role during a pandemic:
#1 Ask questions whenever you need to
Newbie immunity. People do give you a pass whenever you ask them questions. If you feel like you sound stupid, remember that is just what you think you sound like and is probably not what it is at all in reality
#2 Accept the uncomfortable feelings that come up as a newbie
You may be feeling lost, confused and not at all yourself. It’s normal to feel that way at the beginning of your new job. You are navigating unfamiliar terrain and you don’t know what you don’t know. You may make slight mistakes here and there, but you are not aiming to be perfect at your job the moment you step in – that is impossible to do! You are still learning and adjusting so cut yourself some slack.
#3 Take the initiative to do what you need to be better at your work
I was reminded of this when I was watching a K-drama recently, “She Was Pretty” and the lead character who was lost in her new job and constantly getting berated was offered a great piece of advice by her good friend – was she putting in the effort to get to know her job well or was she instead blaming everyone else for not teaching her and thinking her work is beneath her? That’s the kind of attitude to adopt when getting into a new job – a sense of wonderment and curiosity about your role, and taking the initiative to learn things on your own.