Yes, you read that title right. I started a brand new, unfamiliar job during an international pandemic. You can call me crazy, and maybe I am a bit. I was given the option via email if I would be comfortable starting as a Marketing Assistant for Invent@NMU remotely. At first, I wasn’t so sure, because my mind flooded with all of the “what ifs”, but then I thought, “what the heck, why not?” Starting this position gave me the potential to gain more knowledge, add to my resume, and it could be a unique experience to bring up in a future interview. I was so excited about this job that I didn’t want to wait. These positives seemed to outweigh the possible negatives that could result.
Whew! That’s a lot to juggle all at once if I do say so myself. Certainly, the most difficult part of this new job has been working remotely, which I’m sure many of you can relate to at this time. This would be the perfect time to have a she-shed, am I right ladies? Locking myself in my room for hours and trying to minimize my distractions has been quite a challenge at times. Between a barking dog, a mom who is trying to keep a tidy house, and a dad who has been coming home at lunchtime, there is a lot going on in our household come noon! Also, since we are working from home, I find it more difficult to know when to quit. As soon as I receive a new task, or instant message I feel like I need to get on my computer and get it done immediately. It’s much easier when you have a building that you show up to at 9 am and can clock out of at 5 pm, and then go on with the rest of your day. When that “building” merges with your home space, it’s no longer that easy!
I have made some changes since starting this job that I feel like have really helped me both mentally and emotionally. I have been more conscious recently about having a specific work time vs. me time and giving myself lots of grace. It is very important, now especially, to make sure you are taking mental breaks and checking out to focus on your wellbeing. My entire day consists of either staring at a computer screen or phone screen between work and school. Recently, I have been finding ways to help break up that time and refuel. Those little breaks help me to be a better student and coworker because I am in an overall better mood and mindset. My 7 approaches to staying sane include:
● Getting outside and breathing in the fresh air (the crisp air is so refreshing)
● Writing down daily tasks in my planner (a cute planner always helps, am I right?)
● Standing up and stretching or leaving my room to get a change of scenery every hour or so (huge shout out to my apple watch for this reminder!)
● Following a 6-week workout program (it’s nice to see some positive changes in my body when everything else seems to be stagnant in this world)
● Baking (chocolate chip cookies always help)
● Cleaning (I’m weird and enjoy it, especially steaming floors…. so satisfying!)
● Catching up on The Good Doctor on Hulu (highly recommend watching)
Even though working remotely can be difficult, I am so grateful to be able to during this time. It has made me step out of my comfort zone and be vulnerable but has also given me a way to feel connected to my peers in a way that I would have never known if circumstances were different. Thank goodness we all interact via Zoom, because that has fed my extroverted side that relies on social interaction!
Another positive aspect is that it makes me get ready every day, otherwise, I could find myself getting into a funk and not getting as much accomplished. Really, this job has been my saving grace on some days. It has created a space for me to be creative and not focus on all of the negative things going on around the world. Feeling a sense of accomplishment during these times really does lift up one’s spirits. Lastly, I now have a unique experience that is personal to me. Not many people can say that they started a brand new occupation during an international crisis.
I think it does a person good to be brave and take a leap of faith on something that may be unfamiliar or uncomfortable. During those states of vulnerability, it makes you learn a lot about who you are, and what you can accomplish if you’re willing to put in the effort. It has increased my confidence as a woman in the workforce. If I can be courageous and go after something I want, so can you. The only thing that can get in your way is that little voice in your head telling you that you’re not good enough, or that you don’t have enough experience, but if you can tune that out, so many great opportunities can happen. A new job could help you with your anxiety, and give you clarity during this time. It’s nice to have something that has been consistent in the past few weeks amongst all the chaos.
I’ll also get another “first day” when we are back in the office, and I will actually get to meet my coworkers face-to-face (but 6 feet apart) which has given me something to look forward to when this is over. My friends say that my face lights up when talking about this new job and the amazing experience it has enriched me with. So with that being said, I know that I am exactly where I am meant to be, doing what I am meant to do at this stage in my life and that right there is what is making me feel content at this moment.
Invent@NMU is a program of Northern Michigan University, powered by students, led by professionals.
9:00 am – 5:00 pm