So here we are in a post-pandemic world, and gosh how things have changed, isn’t it crazy?
As the world began reopening on the back of COVID, I started a new career in a very different working climate, with some lows but many more highs! Working as an audit recruiter, my team and I are registering and placing a lot of candidates who also started their careers in the ‘new normal’ (I bet you haven’t heard that phrase in a while!).
Like many of our current candidate pool, I have experienced most of the unique challenges that come with this evolved working structure. Vast amounts of remote/ hybrid working have resulted in Teams becoming my new best friend (or frenemy), whilst learning a new role with limited in person connections, and less exposure to clients, created a much steeper learning curve, with the added pressure of being judged and compared to the pre-covid generations.
The dreaded comparisons
It’s only natural that you are compared to your predecessors; how quickly did they pick things up, what did and didn’t work for them etc. Historically, these insights would likely have been super helpful, but with the circumstances of our learning being incomparable, it’s harder to ascertain what advice to absorb and what to discard as no longer relevant/feasible. There’s no doubt that it is easier to learn from your peers in person, but ultimately, things have changed and let’s not forget the positives, like the freedom to work remotely – something that was once thought unfeasible and unproductive but has since become the preferred working style for many. All those hours previously lost on a commute have become bonus time to invest in both my personal and professional development, mental and physical well-being and not forgetting the occasional Netflix binge on a rainy evening thanks to the short 5 second commute from my desk to my sofa!
Driving your own progression
One thing that will never change is this, we are all responsible for driving our own progression. Put yourself forward, create situations from which you can learn, and reach out to people who can support your development. It can be incredibly beneficial to simply go to the source for answers – que annoying Teams dial tone. Naturally, this may come with a healthy dose of trepidation, but in this climate, you must be more self-motivated and self-critical than ever.
Breaking into the company culture
Remote or in person, it can be difficult to break into an already established team culture, with many colleagues having worked together for years. As a newbie, with a lot of remote working available – it’s great to have the flexibility but ultimately, you feel a bit on the outside. I have found that again, you must push yourself to be bold and reach out more, but you also must practice acceptance – it’s never going to go back to ‘socials after work every night’, as most have seen the value in being more present at home. My advice… Don’t stress on the lost era, embrace the new one, where work functions are no longer compulsory or forced fun, but now represent a genuine reason to connect and engage with your peers.
It seems, from speaking to candidates and colleagues, that hybrid working, and increased flexibility have been more advantageous than not, having made most more self-aware, self-motivated and technologically savvy. The drawbacks, in my experience, becoming less substantive as I grew and settled into my new role.
The world is a different place now for many; but for us, this is the world we stepped into at the start of our new careers, for us this is THE normal – nothing ‘new’ about it.
If you have any insights or shared experienced on this topic that you’d like to discuss, or perhaps your post-pandemic placement hasn’t been quite the fit you’d hoped for and you’re looking to explore new opportunities – either way, get in touch, I’d love to hear from you!