‘I’m trying not to feel too lonely’: What it’s like starting a grad job from home
‘I just want after-work pub trips’
After handing in your diss, the endless parties and grad balls it’s time to start your grad job. Whether it’s working in PR, a grad scheme in the city or something in media situated in East London, it’s what your whole degree has been building towards. Getting that job offer after three years in library and all nighters makes the pain worth it. Or you panicked after spending all your time in the SU and wind up doing a job in recruitment. Either way this is your time to feel like a grownup with a proper job.
However the pandemic has put an abrupt stop to those summer 2020 plans of escaping your new cramped flat for the nearest rooftop bar. An analysis by the Institute of Student Employers found grad hiring has fallen more than 30 per cent in certain countries. In Australia, the United States and England graduate jobs have been reduced between one and 14 per cent.
And if it already wasn’t hard enough to find a job this summer, those that were graduating thinking they were employed are finding they’ve lost their job due to the pandemic. According to The Guardian at least 30 per cent of students have lost a job or an offer of a job.
But there are a lucky few that have managed to secure a grad job despite the pandemic. Two grads Amy and Sarah* spoke to The Tab about their experiences of starting their first job from home. Rather than post work pub trips, tea rounds and lunches with their colleagues they’re meeting people over Zoom, battling loneliness but also pushing themselves to work harder.
This is how it feels to start your grad job from your home:
“I just want after-work pub trips”
Amy is a UCL graduate who got her job as a content creator after an interview over Zoom at the beginning of lockdown. A job interview is always incredibly stressful and nerve-wracking however for Amy the major stress was “trying to make sure the background looked okay.”
The interview wasn’t the only upside to starting her job from home. Amy said logistically it was so much easier to be working at her family home. She said: “Not having to commute or pay London rent has been quite nice. Saving time in the mornings and evenings, and the chance to work from anywhere.”
Amy is hoping her ability to work remotely will allow her to work from home more in the future. She said: “I’m hoping I will have proven my ability to work independently from home, and that location might be a bit more flexible when the lockdown is lifted.”
The independence of not going into the office has been another advantage Amy has found to the start of her first job: “I think having a remote setup means you hit the ground running a bit more, as there’s only so much handholding you can get over video call.”
Though her mum and brother are working from home as well, Amy has found loneliness the biggest battle during working from home. Amy said: “In an office environment you obviously get more social interaction and get to know new people. I just want after-work pub trips to be a thing really.”
“It’s definitely made me take more responsibility for my progress”
Sarah is a University of Birmingham graduate who is currently on the Teach First grad scheme. She got her job offer in March and was meant to be doing her training whilst living in halls at her partner university.
Now she is working from home and credits Teach First for all their support in ensuring everyone is able to work efficiently from home. She said: “When they finalised their adapted plans, they asked us if we had the capacity to work from home, if we needed any support, and if we did, we could apply for a grant and they would help us get a laptop/ netbook and a WiFi dongle.”
Sarah is fortunate to not need this support however it has made her think more about how she can help her own students in the future. She said: “Considering how fortunate I am in that I have a laptop and desk to work from, it has really emphasised how much tougher the pandemic has been on those from low income backgrounds.”
What Sarah has been struggling with though is the lack of socialising that comes from working at home, she said she’s found it “really hard” and “trying to meet people and network is never easy when it’s all online.”
Like Amy, Sarah has found working alone has made her work a bit harder, she said: “It’s made me take a bit more responsibility for my own progress.”
With Boris’ plans of getting England back to “normal” by November, Sarah and Amy will still get to experience post work pub drinks in the freezing cold. And most importantly, getting too pissed at the Christmas party.
*Names have been changed