Let’s Get Together – Maybe? 

Timing used to be of the essence, now with the introduction of COVID we are constantly re-evaluating and shifting our prior arrangements. Work events get pushed back, cancelled, or re-invented depending on mask requirements.  As a an ambivert remote worker, I find myself anxious and excited for each new event I attend. 

Getting over the awkward stage 

Growing up, I always had a fear of new events. I spent numerous summers at the YMCA forced to go through hours of orientation and ice breakers—finding a descriptor for yourself when your name starts with the letter “J” isn’t easy. The idea of going into a work environment starts with battling these preconceived notions and the feeling of “meeting everyone that’s new” and icebreakers. Really, once I remember that I am joining an event with people I communicate with daily through the screen that anxiety fades and is replaced with excitement. 

Embracing the opportunity to develop existing relationships 

That Teams group chat takes a new turn, without screens and easily accessible celebratory gifs. My favorite part of these gatherings are the genuine conversations you have. Nothing can beat hearing someone greeting you excitedly while asking about your life outside of work emails.  Each time we have a group outing I check who is going and excitedly make note to touch base with them. The opportunity to further connect with a team that already inspires you daily is indescribable.  

Weighing potential COVID exposure 

To go or not to go…that is the question I ask myself leading up to and after any event. The morning starts off with a COVID test just to ensure that I have no symptoms prior to leaving my house, the drive there consists of thoughts of concern: Should I wear a mask? What will I do if I do end up with covid? What if I was asymptomatic? Did I use enough hand sanitizer? These thoughts are a constant concern of mine and once I get home, they return the next morning. A few days later I check in with myself, my symptoms, and take another test, just to be sure.  

Realigning your work values or motivators  

After hours of conversation, connection, and anxiety—I find myself with a new take on my day-to-day life and work duties. One thing I’ve thoroughly believed in is that if it scares you, it’s something you need to do. While work events aren’t scary, the thoughts leading up to them can be—yet the minute I step out of my car and see the first familiar face, I know this is where I am meant to be. Clocking into work following this, I remember each fun moment as varying names pop up in my inbox—I feel connected and inspired by our team and mission. Most importantly, I am inspired and ready to create based off these encounters. 

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