Everything I knew about working in an office, I learned from watching The Office.
The work environment in the sitcom was portrayed as crazy and chaotic, but that was not going to stop me from seizing on the opportunity to start my first ever internship in a professional environment. After a full year of anticipation as this pandemic completely redefined “normal,” nothing would hold me back from getting out and beginning something new. I realized quickly, though, in the weeks leading up to my first day, that I did not really know what to expect. I thought about how, for the first time, I was going to be working alongside experienced adults – and at nineteen, I did not exactly see myself as an adult. I thought to myself, Not only am I going to work for the first time, but I am doing so during the uncertainty of COVID-19. There was a whole lot more on my mind than maybe there would have been under ordinary circumstances.
I had completed a couple months of online college at very beginning of the pandemic, and I was adamantly not a fan. I felt like it was almost impossible to absorb anything meaningful over video calls. Naturally, I feared that if work calls were anything like Zoom school, I would be more of a liability than an asset.
I also worried about how I was going to make a first impression. Meeting new people over Zoom could not be more awkward in my mind. Even the thought of getting acclimated to the office in-person while wearing a mask had me nervous. A year into COVID, and I still was not used to meeting new people without seeing half of their face.
Needless to say, I was stressed about starting. I wanted to come in and make a positive impact, to be reliable and efficient. I feared that the limitations created by COVID would be an obstacle I could not prepare for.
To my delight, I began my internship at TBG, and shortly, my paranoia faded away. I learned a big truth quickly: no one is comfortable with the changes that COVID has made to our ways of living. Everyone is still figuring out what works and what does not. Nothing about this reality is ideal, but everyone, from the most senior employees to the younger newcomers like myself, is navigating the situation at the same time.