Starting your career on the cusp of lockdown
2 July 2020
Graduates Keddy Shen and Chanel Mehrotra started jobs just as lockdown began. They discuss the reality of undertaking their new roles while stuck at home.
Picture this; you land an exciting new job overseas. You move out of home, and head off to Australia. Within weeks of arriving and taking up the position, your new country goes into full lockdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
For graduate Keddy Shen (BCom/BSc), this meant undertaking his new role as a Protégé Developer based in Melbourne, in MYOB’s Future Makers Academy, from his recently rented apartment.
“I was lucky that I’d started my job about a month before lockdown came into place,” says Keddy.
“Onboarding and the first few weeks were completed in the office. I had time to settle into Melbourne, lease an apartment, and buy the basic amenities. Any later and I would have been struggling with living arrangements let alone being able to work from home.”
Keddy said prior to lockdown MYOB had already equipped him with the tools needed to work from home and encouraged staff to work flexibly.
“I was working one day a week from home pretty early on, which definitely helped with transitioning to fulltime work from home.”
Even so, there were lots of adjustments. For Keddy, no commuting time and being surrounded by home comforts was definitely a bonus, but this was balanced out by having no real separation between work and home.
“The best I could do was unplug my laptop at the end of each day. Also I felt very isolated.”
“MYOB provided a learning budget to the protégés, allowing us to get the resources that we needed. During lockdown they continued to share support resources which made it possible to work remotely."
My best advice to anyone else who suddenly finds themselves working remotely is keep a good routine. It’s easy to slide into the comfort of home and become complacent.
"My best advice to anyone else who suddenly finds themselves working remotely is keep a good routine. It’s easy to slide into the comfort of home and become complacent. If you find yourself doing so, try some of the things you would normally do outside of the lockdown – dress in “outside” clothes, wear shoes etc."
For Chanel Mehrotra (BCom), a mere month into her new role as a Marketing Campaign Specialist for MYOB, the company sent their staff home to work. A week later, New Zealand was in full lockdown.
It was a big shift. Starting a new role always involves a huge learning curve and you are out of your comfort zone, with new people, new processes and a completely new working environment.
“It was a big shift,” says Chanel. “Starting a new role always involves a huge learning curve and you are out of your comfort zone, with new people, new processes and a completely new working environment. Not to mention a completely new industry with new products and technology to understand.”
As MYOB is a business with operates across NZ and Australia, Chanel says there were already a lot of virtual connections between teams prior to lockdown.
While technology is great at connecting people, Chanel says nothing really replaces meeting people in person. “There were members of the marketing team who I hadn’t met. But you adapt. I’ve gained awesome time management skills. It is vital that you learn to switch off from work as sometimes you can catch yourself working very random hours, like responding to emails while you eat dinner,” she says.
“Having a good working space at home helps. MYOB set employees up with a proper home office, giving us screens, keyboards, and even chairs.”
“This is not a normal situation. I’ve learnt new processes alongside everyone else in the company. You adjust,” she says.
Miranda Playfair | Media Adviser
Mob: 021 063 8393