In April 2020, amidst the plight of the COVID-19 pandemic, I finally graduated from the Business Information Technology program at the Red River College. Typically, I would have been excited to put my school career to a close, yet I spent the latter half of my final semester worrying about my future employment. I had heard stories of fellow students who were accepted by prospective businesses, only to discover around early April that all onboarding would be paused. The glaringly obvious COVID-19 situation sparked in me the same fear, that I might also have to wait for work. Possibly looking elsewhere for a much-coveted Software Developer position I worked so hard to attain. Fortunately, I was embraced into the fold at Imaginet as an Application Developer shortly after finishing school. My first day at Imaginet was May 4, 2020 and I was elated. I could not have been more grateful.

As I walked into the office on my first day, I knew it would be strange. I was informed that my fellow devs were working from home and that only a few active employees were in the office. Yet, it still came as a surprise that a recently renovated floor with more resources than I thought could feel so quiet. The welcome was nonetheless warm, where I was greeted by one of our IT specialists who helped set up my hardware. Oddly enough, I had forgotten about the pandemic for the remainder of the day as I met virtually with a few team members, including my onboarding mentor.

A normal day operated as such, after having shuffled out of bed and prepped for a new day. With a freshly brewed coffee in hand, I engaged with my mentor and manager online for a standup. I shared my plans for the day, pursued my tasks according to our sprint plans on DevOps, and shot enquiries to my teammates via Teams messages when a problem became a bit much. It may sound more than standard, but this took quite some time to get used to. With a background in bartending, my social nexus was comprised of the workplace where I could socially fulfill my engagement with the team. Thankfully, I learned sooner than later that this could be done across our virtual platforms, albeit without the outings we might have done otherwise. We adopted Among Us Fridays at lunch, virtual happy hours, bi-weekly app developer meetings where we could share with our team just about anything.

Six months have passed, and I’d wager I speak for all new hires in 2020 that it’s been a challenge. Granted, it has been for everyone. In my view, though, I have nothing to compare my recent experience except to that of my expectations. Working together with my crew, chatting next to the water cooler, going out for lunch as a team, and so on. Rather, I have spent most of my time confined in the safety of my home as many others do. Again, different times for us all – I am not special. I am, however, someone who thrives in a social setting, and it’s more than clear from my virtual meetings that the team here also misses being together in person.

This isn’t all to say it’s been a negative experience. Far from it… I’ve learned more over the last 180 days than I’d previously imagined. Angular.js is a welcome addition to my developer mind, not to mention Azure resources, DevOps, Cosmos Db, Node.js, and the list goes on. Further, I’ve had a remarkable team to buttress my efforts in acquiring these new skills and have gone out of their way to help me understand them, despite being unable to walk a few paces over to my desk and chat through it in person. In essence, I can count myself lucky. I’m continuing to learn beyond the education I’ve moved on from, and with phenomenal people who have my back in the process.

I know this isn’t a great answer to what one might ask about how the start of a new job is during a pandemic. The truth is, I’m still processing so much of my experience even in light of what I’ve just shared. Much of my concern lies in the fact that this is temporary, and how I’ll readjust once we transition back to how things were done before.

On the same token, I am excited, and have been since I began here. It’s not the same as it might have been a few years ago, but the essence remains – I am finally producing solutions for a company that has done nothing short of helping me succeed in my endeavors. The majority of our work remains online for now, as it is for most of us, and the need for human connection remains. Cliche as it is, the light is at the end of the tunnel and I have a cheesy optimism that we will all be returning to our desks stronger and brighter than before.

Want to join the team?

Imaginet is looking for amazing people and outstanding professionals across North America for a variety of roles. As an equal opportunity employer, we welcome the many dimensions of diversity.

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Imaginet is your trusted technology partner who turns your business innovation ideas into reality. 20+ years | 1200+ satisfied customers | 2500+ successful engagements. Primary services include Web Application Development, Mobile App Development, and SharePoint consulting services, with additional specialties in Power BI & Business Intelligence, Office 365, Azure, Visual Studio, TFS, & Azure DevOps, Teams, and more. Located in the United States and Canada with services offered worldwide. Contact us today at info@imaginet.com or 1-800-989-6022.

Ernest Janzen

About Ernest Janzen

Ernest joined Imaginet's Application Development practice in May 2020. He is a recent graduate from the Business Information Technology program at Red River College.

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