Author Image
Steph Marsh
Junior Creative



Starting a New Job in a Pandemic

Remember that time in March around a year ago when we thought the pandemic would last 2 weeks? Bless us, how naive we once were! It’s been a year and people starting a new job in that time is inevitable. As one of those people, I thought I’d share some insight into what I’ve experienced, in hopes that it might help you, or a friend... Or at least entertain.

A first day in a new job is always a nerve-racking experience. A first day in a global pandemic working from home is even weirder. The usual worries of a first day such as the classic London train delays, finding the office when you have literally no sense of direction (even with Google maps) and your first lunch break are worries you don’t get when you start a new job in a pandemic. So - that's a win?

My first day

My first day started with a knock at the door with my new MacBook arriving. I set it up in my tiny flat lounge and that was the start of my first day. I never thought I could start a first day in a new job in pyjamas bottoms without anyone ever knowing… until now. But hey, that must be classed as a perk of a first day at home. 

I instantly felt buzzing and so welcome as a Waster with everyone making such an effort to introduce themselves on Slack. In a normal world you’d probably go for a coffee or a beer with some of your team in the first week but for a pandemic start, Zoom is the equivalent.

The part I really find funny about working from home is that I literally have no clue what anyone I work with looks like from below the shoulders, I also have no idea how tall they are! One of the things I do look forward to with office life is meeting people I haven’t worked with before, those random, unplanned conversations whilst waiting for the kettle to boil.

COVID-style socialising

Most days start with a 9:15 call talking mainly about the best TV programmes we’re currently watching and a bit about the work we’re doing that day. Human contact like this everyday makes such a difference with working from home. Not only does it give you the chance to line up some more good crime dramas to watch whilst the pubs are still shut but also feels like you’ve been around people

I can’t help but feel I have missed out on office life though, things like last minute after work drinks with people on a Friday or even a Monday if it’s that kind of week. In a normal world, four months in you will have formed a good bond with all of the people you work with. That’s harder to do through a laptop screen. I feel I have missed out on the general office buzz and conversations about the best places to go and get lunch and a coffee in Farringdon, chats about plans after work and cool places to go in London. 

Beyond Zoom

In my last place I was known for having a cracking snack drawer full of a very good crisps variety and a good selection of breakfast bars. I think the people of Waste have missed out on my snack drawer experience and instead I am now eating the lot myself at home. I’m also known for having a drawer which is basically like your local Boots: a full on pharmacy. The more I think about it, there are a lot of weird things people haven’t got to know about me yet, such as the fact I am always freezing. It could be mid summer and I will still be sat in the office in a coat and a hot water bottle. These are my weird traits that you just wouldn't notice on a Zoom call.

To sum up...

The weirdest part is, in a sense, I’ll have a first day all over again when we are back in the office one day in the (please lord) NEAR future! After experiencing Waste Radio (our internal radio show) on Fridays in February, I cannot wait to be sociable in real life with all the Wasters after a day in the office! Until then, here are my best tips for those starting a new job in the pandemic:

  • Try and have calls with people when you can, human contact makes all the difference 

  • Remember to actually brush your hair, once you’re on a call with your camera on it’s too late

  • Get yourself a good at home snack drawer

  • Try to wear something other than pyjamas (you’ll feel better for it)

  • Lastly, enjoy it! You’ve got a new job in a global pandemic!