Navigating a new job can be tough — there’s an influx of information to process, names to remember, inductions to complete and pressure to perform.
But starting a new role in a global pandemic has its own set of challenges.
I’m now among a growing number of people who have started jobs and left without meeting their colleagues in person once.
I’m almost 34 weeks pregnant and preparing to transition to what I’m told will be the most demanding full-time job of my life — motherhood.
The same week I discovered the life-changing news, I lost my previous position as a political media advisor.
As it was described to me at the time, I and many others in the office became “collateral damage” in a brutal leadership change.
I suddenly found myself unemployed and pregnant just as Sydney’s Delta outbreak emerged.
Finding work while pregnant
Job hunting is stressful enough but to be doing so while expecting adds another layer of complications.
It was so early in the pregnancy, was I obliged to tell any potential employers of my upcoming arrival? Would it hinder my chances of landing an opportunity?
I decided to be upfront and was pleasantly surprised and relieved at the response.
Rapid shift to remote work
But just before I was due to start with Yahoo, Sydney’s lockdown was announced and remote working became the new normal again for thousands of workers.
I’m now at the end of my six-month contract and despite restrictions recently easing, I have never stepped foot in the office and all my personal interactions have been limited to video calls, online messages, emails and the odd text or phone conversation.
In many ways, being made redundant from my previous high-pressure role was a blessing in disguise.
Working from home gave me the flexibility to easily manage medical appointments around my shifts, and peace of mind that I wasn't putting myself or the baby at risk by commuting on public transport.
It wasn’t without its difficulties though, I desperately missed the social interaction and collaborative nature of working in an office and if I’m honest, I’m not a fan of virtual meetings.
WFH phenomenon: Bonding with strangers
But the notion that we were all in this together made it somewhat special in a way.
None of us were stuck at home by choice but rather bound by public health measures in the midst of an escalating Covid emergency.
I had planned to finally venture into the office and meet everybody this week but decided to instead bunker down and get tested after finding out I had checked into a venue at the same time as a positive case.
I wasn't deemed a close contact and have no symptoms however being heavily pregnant, I'm being overly cautious as we enter uncharted territory with Omicron.
It was a stark reminder that the pandemic is ongoing and although the days of state-wide lockdowns appear to be over, vaccines are not foolproof and we should heed the warnings from experts.
While I'm disappointed I wasn’t able to meet my co-workers face-to-face, I never felt isolated or detached from my colleagues.
Instead, I’m leaving with a sense of gratitude that I was part of a tight-knit team that always made me feel supported and valued.
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