Publication | ThinkSet

Starting a New Job during COVID

Christina Pitts

February 25, 2021

Transitioning careers and cultivating workplace relationships in a pandemic

There are many aspects of workplace culture that we never realized were important until our work lives were uprooted due to COVID-19: daily interactions with colleagues, in-person meetings, peers and mentors a cubicle away, and a support system in close proximity. At my previous job, I learned and developed skills by watching my colleagues perform tasks, asking questions, and working closely with others in the same space. I was used to this and hesitant to apply for a new job. I knew that I wanted to work in transaction advisory, but when COVID hit, I waited before trying to make a move, knowing how difficult it would be to transition to a completely different job remotely.

How would I cultivate the same kind of relationships that I had at my last firm at a new company while working from home? How would working virtually impact the learning curve of starting a new job? Despite my hesitations, I did not want to stay stagnant, and I needed to further my growth professionally.

When I was hired by BRG, I immediately felt excited and was ready to start my new chapter regardless of the circumstances. I had been at my last job for three years out of college, so I had no idea what to expect. This was my first career transition, I lacked transaction experience, and working remotely would pose new challenges, so I realized that I needed to work that much harder in my new role.

From day one, my new colleagues reached out to me, more than willing and happy to help me acclimate. I received many emails from colleagues in the TA group welcoming me to the firm—a small gesture that made me feel a part of the team. The people at BRG exceeded my expectations in the best way possible.

Although virtual training and working from home pose challenges, the technology (including Webex and video calling) has helped to remedy a difficult situation. Whether it was through video calls or over the phone, many people shared their experiences with me. Colleagues walked me through past deals they had worked on and spent hours answering my questions to give me a better understanding. This was paramount in accelerating my learning curve. I discussed the aspects of a deal at a high level, read through diligence reports, and reviewed expectations with colleagues who have gone through the deal process. I gained so much knowledge going into my first deal because of the people who took the time to explain these things to me. This also made me comfortable asking questions and allowed me to get to know the people I would be working with.

My experience felt personalized and simulated being in the office in the best and most efficient way given the circumstances. Many people have been in my corner, and I am picking up concepts and grasping the work more quickly than I had anticipated. With tools that help us stay connected, I am also building relationships that I thought would be difficult to foster virtually. I am elated that I decided to transition to a career path that I knew I wanted to be in. I realized, throughout my experience transitioning to a new firm, that the people can make the experience a great one, even virtually.

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