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Starting a new job in a pandemic

Published under Covi19 , Behaviour , Research Methods , Training
Written by Anna Roberts

I’ll be honest with you. This is not how I expected my first month to go as I walked to the office for my first day of work on March 2nd.  After a misguided attempt at a master’s course, I had had a string of good luck which resulted in me landing an amazing first job, flat and housemate in the space of a month. I was waiting for the penny to drop. Something had to go wrong, surely. Little did I know that my karma would affect the whole planet.

My first week was fairly normal. Learning the ropes, meeting the people and getting to know just what my job was going to be like. Not the slightest mention of Coronavirus, I began to settle and feel comfortable with my surroundings.

By week two, news was starting to trickle in about Covid-19. We considered it an overreaction when one member of the team self-isolated due to having a cough and there were frequent jokes about the virus. But, by the end of the week, that had all changed. The frequent news updates began to make people uneasy and we placed a ban on all talk of Covid-19 except at lunch. The world seemed to be going mad as we said “I wonder where the world will be at 4pm next Friday?”.

Monday morning of week three began with another ban on all corona-related topics unless related directly to the work we were doing. The news showed images of Italy in lockdown and the mood in the office had dropped significantly as we contemplated what would happen in the UK. However, amongst all the gloom, the sun decided to show us that it did actually still exist and with the aim of cheering ourselves up some of us went to the pub for a pint. The remainder of the week revolved around making the most of time in the office with face to face contact with teammates before the inevitable order to work from home.

On Friday I made my way home, lugging my work equipment up the hill to my flat. The roads were far quieter than on my first day - at least the environment is benefiting from all this chaos. I packed up my things, loaded up my car and headed to my boyfriend’s house in the country. It felt very surreal leaving my flat after only having lived there for four weeks but I knew that living with more people and having access to a garden and dog would lift my spirits over the coming weeks (or months). We should all take this time to remind ourselves of what is important, call our loved ones (especially those at risk or those we may not speak to as often as we should) and take time for ourselves.

Now working from home, the sun is shining through the windows (it seems Mother Nature knows not to play keep-away with the good weather right now) and I have to say that, although all this has happened, my time at work so far has been a success.

Despite how we all feel at this time, I’m sure in the future it will make for a very good story.