Countries around the world went into lockdown. Local governments rolled out new social guidelines to learn and abide by. National protests broke out in major cities across the U.S.
And in the middle of all of this, I accepted and started a new job in a new industry.
How was I going to navigate business development in such an uncertain world? Could I build valuable relationships virtually just as well as in-person?
Well, here I am, now four months in. The world is settling into its new normal–and so am I.
So if you’re wondering what it’s like to start a new job in a new industry, and hit the ground running during a time like this, I can tell you all about that because I’ve lived it. And I can attest that it can still be a positive and exciting experience!
The interview process
No hand shakes. Stay six feet apart at all times. Wear a mask.
There are a lot of new social guidelines that make an already-intimidating interview even more so. Fortunately, my final interview took place in-person just before Houston went into quarantine. However, I wholeheartedly believe that even if my interview was over Zoom, I still would have known that Fifth Ring would be a good fit. The final interview was my last shot to determine whether I'd be joining a company with a supportive culture, transparent leadership and social awareness. Not only did I affirm those things then, I've seen them battle-tested through all the issues a pandemic and civil unrest bring to the forefront.
Virtually meeting the team
Without ever stepping foot in the office, I began my new role as Business Development Manager for the Americas at Fifth Ring. Next up in this odd experience: meeting all of my co-workers virtually. I was nervous I wouldn’t be able to build the connection and camaraderie with my colleagues that I’m used to in an in-person environment. After all, I’m a people person!
But from day one, Fifth Ring opened their virtual arms to me. I opened my laptop for the first time to videos saved on my desktop from members of my team introducing themselves. They delivered a welcome pack to my house with snacks and fun things that reminded them of the office. We coordinated a Q&A video so my colleagues around the world could get to know me better.
All of these things made for a warm and inviting start, and really gave me an inside look into my company's culture and values. I’ve realized that building a connection with your team isn’t because of the in-person interaction, it’s about finding small ways to show you care about each other’s overall well-being–especially during times like these.
My 12-week onboarding process was completed virtually across four time zones. At first, it seemed like a lengthy, intimidating task. Throughout this time, I learned the inner workings of Fifth Ring–from brand and strategy to creative. While meeting members of the team abroad, I started to immerse myself in all things marcomms. I began to grasp our methodologies, became familiar with how imagery provokes action, how PR and digital work together cohesively, and much more. My new role still has at its core the art of sales that I love, just with a new twist.
Embracing the mission and values
Though the world is still reeling from COVID-19, civil unrest, an unstable economy and other uncertainties, Fifth Ring, as I anticipated in my interview, has handled all of this with complete transparency. Our mission is to think like a strategist, create like an artist, act like a pro. No matter the function, every person inherently demonstrates that our mission isn't just lip service. We live and breathe it in the office and in our living rooms, through the good days and the bad.
As a foundation for business development, it also means not turning a blind eye toward socioeconomic factors, but understanding that by embracing the humanity behind business, we set ourselves up for long-term success.
So what’s it like to start a new job in 2020?
These first four months were a little different, but it was still the exciting, motivating process I hoped for.
I'm in a new industry, but the sales process is essentially the same.
I haven’t shaken anyone’s hands, but this is my new team.
I’ve never been in the office, but I know it’s the right fit.
This year, with all of its uncertainties, hasn’t slowed down our productivity as an organization. And as the new Business Development Manager, it’s my job to make sure it doesn’t. I’m looking forward to making connections, building relationships and guiding Fifth Ring's clients toward building better brands and selling more stuff for many years to come.
If you want to learn more about me or start a discussion, feel free to contact me at (281) 404-4328 or Jennifer.Prince@fifthring.com