Welcome to your New Job – Now Stay Home
Author’s note: Since I wrote this, I have completed my first five months with Ceisler Media. In this time, I have moved apartments, tried to make my work-from-home setup efficient and spent weeks logging into work from my parents’ home – all without meeting with my new colleagues once. Although it has been challenging to get to know my coworkers and understand their styles while working remotely, everyone has been friendly, welcoming and accommodating. I am thankful to have them as teammates.
Preparing for your first day at a new job is stressful under any circumstances. Not only are you embarking on a journey full of new professional tasks, but you have also have to master the social aspects of your new office: learning names, roles, expectations and company traditions.
On my first day as an Associate at Ceisler Media & Issue Advocacy, I woke up with all of this on my mind. Except instead of rushing out the door to catch an early bus in an attempt to master my new commute, I took a few steps from my bedroom to my living room and opened my laptop.
My first day on the job came on Mar. 23 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thankfully, technology allowed me to keep in close contact with my new coworkers and meet them all virtually. In some ways, it was a relief to be making these new connections from my living room with slippers on instead of a pair of heels.
Interacting with my new colleagues for the first time via video conference was stressful at times. I wanted to make sure I was making a positive first impression despite the challenges of video conferencing – freezing up, choppy cell phone service and my constant concern that the appearance of my apartment in the background would scare people away.
One positive part of meeting through this medium, however, was my ability to shamelessly take notes on everything people disclosed about themselves. This turned out to be an excellent point of reference when trying to keep names straight – since I had only briefly interacted face-to-faced with any of them before starting work.
Understanding the expectations and rhythm of your new team is always a challenge in a new position. While it’s always good to be ready with questions when starting a new job, I quickly realized that I would have to ask more clarifying questions about all the minor aspects of the work that may have been more easily communicated in person. I reminded myself a few times that I would have to work to over-communicate more than usual, since not only was this is my first time working with everyone, but it was also happening remotely. Luckily, every member of the Ceisler team was warm and happy to entertain all of my questions.
I’m looking forward to my new job, where I’ll work with corporate and nonprofit clients, and have the opportunity to utilize my degree in Strategic Communication and Political Science. I’ve come to Ceisler Media after working at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business. Prior to that role, I worked for the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners for two years.
While starting my experience at Ceisler Media from home amplified some small details (Should I dress as I normally would for my first staff meeting?), it was a reminder to keep things in perspective. I never expected to be in this situation, but many others now find themselves out of work, battling illness or caring for their loved ones during the COVID-19 crisis.
All of this makes me even more thankful for this new opportunity – and the fact that I am able to login to work each day with such a positive group of people makes it even sweeter.
Shannon McLaughlin is an Associate in Ceisler Media's Philadelphia Office.