For me, 2020 was an unforgettable year for more than one reason. I kicked off my consulting career at Blue Seed then COVID-19 rocked the world. Below I share reflections on a year of significant personal growth, amid a year of transformational change and uncertainty.
In February of 2020, I started my first ever full-time role as a Change Analyst at Blue Seed Consulting. Like all recent graduates starting their first proper job, I felt excited and ready to see where the “real world” would take me. I’m sure many of us can agree that this year did not turn out quite how we expected. While my perception of work was based on the traditional paradigm of sitting at a desk, in front of a computer, nine to five, five days a week, I very quickly realised that that was not the “real world” anymore.
International consulting adventures
My first client assignment involved working for an offshore bank, to set up the foundations for an enterprise-wide transformation. This meant a weekly overseas commute. The novelty of travelling for business was not lost on me, especially when I got to experience the First Class Lounge! The assignment provided me with so many different opportunities including exploring a new city, meeting new clients, and making new connections. It was truly an experience that I will never forget.
Then all of a sudden, my travelling came to a stop and much like the rest of the world, I went from working on aeroplanes to working at my dining table.
Living my own change journey
My work-from-home journey, much like an organisational change journey, sent me through the various stages of shock, disruption, exploration and acceptance. For someone who chose to work in change, I admittedly find change very difficult. At the start, I found it hard to transition from speaking and mingling with colleagues every day to only seeing them in a small square on my computer screen. As a graduate new to the workplace, I found myself wishing I were able to just tap someone on the shoulder to ask a question and show them what I was working on.
Necessity is the mother of invention
Looking back, I do not think that my development and growth was hindered, if anything it was expedited. I say this because I feel like I was pushed out of my comfort zone and did not have my colleagues sitting next to me to rely on, so I had to trust my instincts and made decisions on my own and forged ahead. I felt safe to do this as I knew I still had support from my team when I needed it.
In saying this, I did notice that I asked fewer questions. Having an inquisitive, or nosey some would call it, nature, I typically do not hesitate to speak my mind, however, I found it much more difficult to articulate my thoughts over email or chat. I put this down to the fact that I can communicate much better when I am personally interacting with someone. As a way of making up for having fewer spontaneous interactions, I now have 1:1’s with my Managing Director and Principal Consultants every month. This gives me the opportunity to speak to them personally and ask about anything that I’m unsure of. I would definitely recommend this approach to all young professionals to proactively set up if they have the chance – I pick up new bits of information from every chat I have!
People make the difference
While I have explored the capabilities of Zoom and MS Teams and have taken full advantage of Blue Seed’s flexible work practices, the biggest thing I missed has been seeing my colleagues every day. I can wholeheartedly say that whatever the future of work may look like, it really is the people that will make the difference. As we’ve gradually returned to the Blue Seed office and our clients’ workplaces, it has only cemented to me how important those human interactions are for our development and growth. I’m enjoying the hybrid approach of remote work and office time right now, I feel like it gives me the best of both worlds.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my Blue Seed team for their support and guidance through my first year especially our Managing Director, Claire and the two Blue Seed Client Account Leads that I teamed with, Nicole and Cheryl.
I certainly did not expect to start my first real job during a year that no one will ever forget but my team at Blue Seed Consulting made it a year that I will remember forever.