Joining a new job has been a roller-coaster ride, to say the least.
March 16, 2020. My first day at Harappa Education. It started with a well-structured orientation session, followed by a meeting with my reporting manager, a welcome lunch, team meetings, and group huddles. It was an action-packed first day that flew by before I knew it.
And just when I was ready to pack my bags for the day, came the news: The team will be working from home.
The pandemic was rearing its head—and we at Harappa were one of the first to go into work-from-home mode.
While I lauded the foresightedness and proactiveness at Harappa to deal with the outbreak, I wasn’t really sure about my coping mechanism. After all, starting a new job remotely isn’t exactly what you envision for yourself.
But here I was, along with others, staring at the new unprecedented reality.
For someone in business development, it’s absolutely necessary to have a thorough knowledge of the product and process. The next few days went by, and I was thoroughly immersed in strengthening my knowledge about the product. And I quite enjoyed this phase.
I was slowly soaking in all the information coming from all directions. Every meeting with different teams brought to the fore the profound meaning/reason behind the courses being offered.
The spirit of the team, its eye-for-detail, and strong sense of purpose wowed me every single time. I could feel the Harappa value of ‘driven by passion’.
Meanwhile, the daily grind of sales meetings was on and I began to feel unsettled. I felt overwhelmed with all the information, meetings, and daily tasks I was eager and excited to hit the ground running—not only did I want to be on top of my daily tasks/goals, but I also wanted to do the Harappa courses.
Truth be told, the excitement and anxiety had begun to catch up with me.
There was no time to lose. I had to equip myself with the necessary tools. One of the few things that helped me tide through the rough patch was the daily check-ins with my manager.
We had a few catch-ups during the day—to chat, discuss the good and the bad, and sort out things. This led to planning for the day and having broader plans for the week/month. I also got a lot of insights into the long-term goals and targets of the team, which helped me put things in perspective.
Being present for all meetings at all times and being vigilant of the work-styles, communication pattern, the serious stuff (curriculum, learning impact, engagement, etc) and the not-so-serious stuff (the informal chit-chat, WhatsApp, and Zoom) led to an increased sense of belonging.
Being vocal and talking about the issues/challenges during our daily check-ins also helped. Not to forget the Friday Janata meetings that were the closest one could get to office fun and banter.
Hearing from the management and the entire team was very encouraging, to say the least. It gave me a quick glimpse into the Harappa culture—non-hierarchical, collaborative, dynamic and playful.
How can one be a Harappan and not experience the joy of learning?
The Embracing Change course, true to its name, helped me learn the frameworks and mental models needed to build resilience and navigate change. Not only did I experience the magic of learning, but attending the course helped me assimilate all the information that I had been gathering all this while.
So, this is how it works, I thought to myself. After all, a salesperson needs to have the conviction that only comes with a scrupulous understanding of your product.
Now that we are three weeks into this lockdown and as much as I yearn to resume office and meet people, I can confidently say that I have adapted to the new reality and #embracedchange in the way only a Harappan can.
Nancy Roongta is Senior Manager, Partnerships at Harappa Education. She graduated in English Literature and completed her post-graduation from Xavier Institute of Social Service. An entrepreneur at heart, Nancy likes to read and travel in her leisure time.
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