Preeti Kaur is currently undertaking a Level 3 Digital Marketing Apprenticeship at Google. In her first WhiteHat Community blog post, she discusses starting her apprenticeship during COVID-19...
So we all know that 2020 has been one big mess, unfortunately outside of our control. One of the biggest, unprecedented challenges we’ve encountered is dealing with COVID-19. I started my apprenticeship here at Google just over a week ago (Oct 2020) and I have to say, things have been anything but normal. I’m officially an employee of Google, working from my bedroom. Can it get more bizarre!?
Virtually meeting the other apprentices and our teams via video chat as opposed to in-person has been a strangely unique experience. Starting a new job is never easy and it’s understandable to feel a little nervous or find the settling-in stages unsettling and overwhelming. Initially, I found myself feeling awkward and uneasy talking to dozens of people on video calls, being unaware and confused as to when it would be appropriate to interject. Needless to say, setting up space in the house to work from home in itself was difficult and uncomfortable in its own respect. Now, about 20+ video calls later, I am a lot more confident with being myself on camera, being heard, and engaging a lot more! I guess the purpose of this blog is to address how it can be very tempting to define these experiences as potential setbacks, unideal circumstances, or overwhelming hurdles or, we can acknowledge the incredible opportunity we’ve been given and make the most of it!
Let’s talk about what I’ve realised about this experience as of yet.
First and foremost, you save money, time and energy without sacrificing comfort! Instead of a lengthy and costly commute in-and-out of busy London buses and trains twice a day, you can roll out of bed at 8:50am and still be on time for work at 9! Commuting in itself takes a lot of your vital morning energy. Now that you’ve saved this, you can easily boost your attentiveness at work in the early hours or spend some time stretching, doing yoga or heading off to the gym! P.S. technically there’s no rules against working from your sofa or bed so live it up!
Secondly, if you’ve ever been in a job interview, undoubtedly, they would’ve asked you some situational questions e.g. ‘When have you been adaptable at work?’, ‘What’s a major setback/problem you’ve faced and overcome’. Ding ding ding, you have a go-to answer now! Just explaining how you adjusted and adapted your way of work while offices were closed shows resilience and determination. By constantly having to communicate via video chat/digitally, you’re also boosting your professional communication and public speaking skills whilst becoming more digitally savvy!
Thirdly, we’re all in this boat together. I’m sure there are several other apprentices in your cohort or the wider WhiteHat community who have faced similar challenges with settling in. Reach out, talk to people and express how you feel and support each other. Share everything you learn so you can all shine!
Last but not least, it’s all about the small steps e.g. squeeze in that exercise break, take a walk, make a personal development plan, switch off after your contract hours and don’t forget to wash your hands since COVID-19 is still lurking around!!
Wishing you all the best,