As you know, 2020 is...well, 2020. Tons of us lost our jobs, were laid off, had to close up shop and reinvent ourselves or our businesses. For some, who may have been freelancers or entrepreneurs, financial stability became a very real concern. As a freelancer myself, I felt the fear of the pandemic and decided to softly send my resume out to attractive job postings.
I honestly assumed that I wouldn’t hear back from most of them and the probability of companies freezing their hiring was high. To my surprise, I actually heard from quite a few; and pretty rapidly. Once I had responded to the hiring managers about setting up interview times, I had to figure out how the hell to make a lasting impression via everyone’s new best friend, Zoom.
These are actual questions that ran through my head when preparing for my virtual interviews:
- Do I wear pants?
- Is the quality of my computer good enough that you can see the difference between makeup and no makeup?
- What if my WiFi connection craps out?
- What if my dog pops into the screen? Should I plan for that to happen to make me more memorable? (yes, seriously)
- Is it really weird if I do this from my bedroom? (tiny apartment problems)
The interview days came, and they went surprisingly well. I didn’t feel any awkward pauses between myself and the interviewers, technical difficulties were few and far between, and I could put my PJs back on immediately afterwards (goals). I personally feel like the most stressful part of interviewing is being on time. If it’s a location you’ve never been to before, it’s easy to stress about how early to leave, where to park...etc. Something like that could literally be the difference between getting the job or not. Tardiness is the worst first impression, and on Zoom, it’s virtually (pun intended) impossible.
Starting the job felt strange. It wasn’t just starting a WFH position because there were no real “orientation” or “on-boarding” days at the office. My boss and I met in person on an outdoor patio (which also wouldn’t usually occur in a normal world), to chat and really just interact irl. I didn’t want to give a random person whom I only met online all of my personal information and hope that I actually had a job, and she didn’t want to hire a stranger that may not be who they say they are; both totally understandable. Luckily, we got along great and I was brought on. However, this made me wonder about all the ways that this exact situation could go terribly wrong. Food for thought.
Starting a WFH position can be tricky because literally nothing in your life changes except for the fact that you’re expected to have work completed that’s assigned to you. Your daily routine feels the same, but you have to be significantly more alert, organized, and efficient with your time. Your superiors have a whole list of duties of their own and aren’t able to check on you as closely. It can be super easy to neglect your work if you’re not careful. I put together a list of things that help with making work hours, work hours, so that you don’t get side tracked throughout the day.
- Wake up at least one hour before your start time. This will give you time to really wake up, eat breakfast, tidy your work space and feel ready to get sh*t done.
- Put your phone on silent or away if you can. My phone slows me down if I can see notifications coming in all day. Set it aside to improve your efficiency.
- Check your work chat/emails hourly (or more often that that). This will keep you aware of what you need to do and show others that you’re actually working. If your response time is fast, there’s no reason to question whether or not you’re doing your job.
- Still prep meals the night before as if you were going to work. It’s easy to waste time cooking a meal just because you can. Prepping lunch the night before doesn’t take too long and you’ll be able to enjoy your lunch break without rushing to cook, eat, and clean before you get back to work.
- Have a designated work space. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worked from my bedroom and gotten little to nothing done. It’s too comfortable and doesn’t make for the most efficient situation. Furthermore, it’s easy to feel like you’re never “home” if you don’t have rooms that are strictly for relaxing in.
I could go on...and I will in another blog post. But those are my top 5 tips.
So how’s it going? Pretty great! I occasionally stress that my boss may think I’m not working all day if we haven’t communicated in awhile, but I feel like if you have that attitude, there’s a good chance they trust your work ethic. I will say that you must be a self-starter or you’ll have a very tough time adjusting to a successful work-life balance. Needless to say, you can get a job during a pandemic and it can be extremely rewarding.
Digital Marketing & Social Media Manager, Threads