A new job in a new world

Published date
Starting a new job is an exciting and daunting experience. Adapting to new people, places, and ways of working is tough, but doing so during the coronavirus pandemic can be disorientating.

I’ve recently joined the Wales TUC team so have first-hand experience of the challenges a new starter faces, and the bizarre circumstances they will need to adjust to.

I’ve put together some advice on how to navigate the strange waters of a starting a new job during the coronavirus.


Communication is important for any new starter and it’s vital during the Covid-19 crisis. It’s possible that like me, you find yourself remote working, or that there aren’t as many colleagues around as there normally would be. Whatever the situation, your manager should be in regular contact to ensure you have all the tools and information you need to work effectively:

Ask questions

There are no silly questions for a new starter, so be sure to ask and then ask again if you’re unsure about anything. You’re not going to grasp everything on your first day, and it might take longer to cover everything you need to know because of your organisation’s current working arrangements.

Checking in

Your manager should be contacting you regularly to help you get up to speed, and more importantly, to see how you’re doing. You shouldn’t feel you’re being left alone to try and make sense of your new role and responsibilities. If you think you need more help and support, don’t be afraid to contact your manager and colleagues.

Knowing me, knowing you

Opportunities to get to know colleagues, and for them to get to know you, have been curtailed by the coronavirus. I’ve had to rely on video calls to say hello to my new team, which isn’t ideal, but has been worth doing. Hopefully, your colleagues will be queuing up to introduce themselves, but if not, don’t be shy about saying hi. Getting to know your team is an excellent way to calm the new starter nerves and to find out more about your new workplace.

Looking after yourself

With a flood of new information and working practices to get your head around, a new job can be overwhelming, particularly if you are working in isolation. For that reason, your own welfare needs to be a top priority:

Avoiding burnout

There’s only so much you can take in, and only so much you can do as a new starter. The coronavirus places added strain on us all, so it’s important to recognise if you are feeling overburdened. Slow and steady beats fast and frantic every time, so if you feel pressured, talk to your manager.

Taking time out

It might feel like your feet aren’t touching the ground during your first few weeks of a new job. Adding the coronavirus to the mix with all the concerns and complications that come with it can be a shock to the system. Remember to take time away and focus on the things you enjoy. Switching off from work and the wider world can be of tremendous benefit to your wellbeing.

Join a union

Whatever your new job and wherever you are working from, make sure you join a union. Not only do unions make workplaces better, safer, and more inclusive, they’ll support and stand up for you, no matter what you face in your new job. If you are struggling or not receiving the support you need as a new starter, your union can help.