I live by a rule – never stop exploring. So when the opportunity came to change my career by 180 degrees and start as a Community Engagement Specialist at Kiwi.com, I decided to take that challenge. You see, I was working in one IT company for over a quarter of my life at that point. But I was looking forward to that change very much. Not gonna lie – I was also afraid. VERY afraid.
If you work for a long time in one company, you probably get to a point where you take many things for granted and some of your actions are “automated” in your head, so you have a nice routine for your work weeks. Well, when I changed my job after 7 years and started the year 2022 by joining Kiwi.com, that “automation” disappeared, leaving new challenges in its wake.
Hi, my name is Katka and today I am going to tell you a story of my first month at Kiwi.com.
How does the first month in a new role feel? What techniques did I (not) use to cope? What does my dog think about the situation? Well… read on!
Week 1 – Stressed but eager
It’s New Year’s Eve. My first day at Kiwi.com and travel to Brno is in three days. I already have all my bags packed – the only thing left is to add the toothbrush – and I am ready for all the eventualities that might occur. How cold will it be? Three sweaters should be enough, I hope. What if I eat spaghetti and stain my shirt? Hmm, then I probably need to add three more outfits just to be sure. Will I want to join someone for a workout? Better add those extra sports bras and sneakers… Yes, I was stressed out as hell.
But then Monday came. I woke up at 4.00am. At 5.35am, 20 minutes before the train departure, I arrived at the train station. Then I had my first heart attack of the year: I booked the train from a different train station! I evaluated all my options. One of them was taking a taxi (would not make it in time anyway), the second one was to just panic and call my mother (would not help, but I really wished not to be an adult at that moment). After a short breathing exercise, the rational part of my brain started working for a second and I realized that I can still catch the train in the station I am in, but it is departing in 4 minutes. On a positive note – the first run of 2022 is done!
The rest of the day and week went basically just like this – I was extremely anxious about everything the whole time. Frantically trying to adapt to the new environment as quickly as possible, meet as many people as possible. And of course, note down all of my ideas (while I was still seeing the company with fresh eyes) and start all the projects I planned to.
My team leader was there for me all the time – answering my questions, explaining the policies and dynamics, introducing me to people, and telling me to slow down, use the time to familiarise myself with everything, and start creating stuff next week. Of course, I didn’t listen to the last piece of advice, I was too eager to start.
When I arrived at my Ostrava home on Friday evening, I was so drained I basically rested for two whole days and my family questioned my sanity. Can’t blame them. But in one sense, I was happy. I met so many great people and developed many interesting ideas!
Week 2 – Drowning in cortisol and fun
Week 2 was promising a meeting with all my team members in Brno. I was hyped! I packed the same amount of stuff, as for week number 1. Because who knows what things I might need?
Meeting the team was awesome. AWESOME! During the team workshop, we managed to learn a lot about each other, solve a few crises, have a lot of fun, and split the team responsibilities into manageable portions. We also went ice skating, had really nice food (there was cheesecake!), and some drinks with the community. I felt happy to be able to experience all of that, but since everything was still very new, the stress levels remained quite high.
When life gives you lemons… To test my sanity, the train ride home on Friday evening turned into a nightmare, as the railways got blocked by an accident and I got home after 5 hours of travel instead of 2.5. I decided to make one hell of lemonade and use the trip to relax as much as possible, so I made several new friends from the random passengers who froze along with me during the wait for the replacement bus. It was not a bad trip after all and I arrived home calmer than before.
Week 3 – I might belong here
This time, I went to Brno only for three days of the workweek. On Monday, I used the time in Ostrava and worked from GUGPoint in ImpactHub, which was great for the change of scenery and meeting some old friends. When Tuesday morning came, the travel felt more routine than ever. I packed more lightly, said goodbye to my dog (who was pretty surprised by my departure), had a nice breakfast on the train, and used the ride for watching videos with Kiwi.com engineering speakers.
The rest of the week I dedicated myself to meeting the community – and it has been such a joy! At that moment, I finally started getting more relaxed in the office and the sense of belonging started creeping in.
When I came back home, my dog Archie was super happy to see me and he spent Friday cuddling on my lap while I worked. Overall though, he started adapting to my new work weeks too.
Week 4 – Kiwi.com is the new normal
They say that 21 days is enough to form a habit. I heard it’s a hoax but my experience shows different. By week 4, I packed a few things the evening before the train ride, and my dog did not even move a paw and continued sleeping while I woke up on Tuesday at 4.00 am to catch the train.
For the first time in my new role, I felt “normal” and not like an alien in the new environment. The tasks I worked on made sense to me and gave me purpose, giving just the right amount of challenge.
I stayed for the Thursday evening beers in the office and had some food and fun conversations with colleagues. When I walked to the tram station, I felt like the world was laying under my feet and did not regret my decision to join Kiwi.com one bit. Of course, this feeling did not last for more than a day – there is still a lot to learn and adjust to in my new role.
I am not delusional – there are good times and there are hard times in every job and some tough weeks await still. But at the end of the month, going to the Brno office felt like returning home a little bit. And I hope this feeling will stay from now on 🙂
How to cope
Not gonna lie. Changing jobs was one of the most challenging things I’ve experienced lately. The stress and anxiety associated with it were very hard to overcome and I am very grateful to my family, friends, and colleagues that they managed to survive this time with me. Weekends with no work, a lot of walks, nature, meditation, as well as movie evenings on the couch and some gaming time, helped a lot to decompress and turn off the overthinking.
If you are new to the company and feel like this ride is too wild for you, I have only one piece of advice for you – hold on and give it a few more weeks. 🙂
Interested in boosting your career at Kiwi.com and being Katka’s colleague? Hurry up and check our open positions!