Starting a new job in lockdown

What’s it like to begin a new job as the country goes into lockdown and offices close? Our Office and Administration Manager, Annmarie Bastianelli shares her experience!

When I got the call back in February that I had been successful in my application for the post of  Office and Administration Manager, I was thrilled, not just about the new challenge but about getting to know my new colleagues in their Edinburgh office!

I had been in my previous post for 11 years so the thought of starting a completely new post in a new organisation was scary but exciting and I felt energised.  It was a brand new post on a full-time basis and a great opportunity for someone to come into the business and make a real difference as well as being able to put my own stamp on things.  I happily planned my new commute into work (I would finally get some time to myself in the mornings to listen to a podcast and have a cuppa!).  My husband bought me a new, fashion-forward packed lunch box (yes, really) and I was invited into our office on Forth Street to meet my new team.  In my mind I had a closed the chapter on my last job, wrapped up loose ends, arranged my leaving party and started to detach myself from the place I had been part of for over a decade.  

I had no idea that this would be the only time I would ever set foot in an office with my new colleagues and that I wouldn’t actually see them for over 6 months!

In mid-March the First Minister announced that Scotland was going into lockdown.  This changed life as we know it for everyone in Scotland and, more importantly for me, I had to cancel my leaving night!  The neat and concise little plan I had in place to transition into my new role had disappeared.  What would happen now?  Would the job offer be withdrawn?  Would I have to go back to my old job? Would I ever get to reschedule my leaving night? 

Like most people I had a thousand questions about what would happen in the coming months.  Looking back, I don’t think anyone could have predicted that we would still be living in a partial lockdown six months later or that we would have been able to adapt ourselves as quickly as we have. I’ve sat in many meetings in my working life where managers have told people it’s completely impossible for them to work effectively from home. 

Lockdown has proven how quickly we can adapt and mobilise change. Lockdown has been far from easy but I think as a team we have been able to produce great work and engage with clients in the same professional way we did pre-lock down.  I still feel like the new girl six months in and I know I still have a lot to learn about the business but I’m glad I moved on – even in a global pandemic! 

Written by Annmarie Bastianelli

13 October 2020

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