Starting my first job in my pajamas

All through college you dream and imagine what your first job will look like. What role will I get? Will I be able to manage the workload? Will I make any friends at work? Will I still have time for my hobbies? Will I get along with my team? Despite the hazy mist of all these questions, one thing is certain – the day I step into the office, my professional journey will begin.

But what happens if you never enter the office building? Yup, that’s right. The pandemic swept through the world in March 2020 and the world as we know it changed. My first day at work in my first ever job started with me in my pajamas, in my room. Not the most exhilarating start. Except, it was -the Human Resources team at Quess made sure I didn’t miss any of the excitement and butterflies of the first day.

Right from the digital onboarding, where I could upload my verification documents with one click, to the welcoming virtual orientation meeting, and the welcome-to-the-team gift delivered to my home, all my unsaid doubts floated away. The Human Resources team organized a series of virtual orientation and training sessions, introducing us to the organization’s policies, processes and key people. Right from the get go I knew whom to contact for what and how to get help if I’m ever in a bind – right from the HRSPOC, POSH helpdesk, payroll executive, to the all-important IT executive who would solve many technical snags for me. Despite working from home, everything was taken care of and everyone was ready to help.

The real excitement started when work began – new tasks to perform, must-know skills to learn, abilities to prove and new team members to collaborate with. In all this, having a supportive manager helped me navigate the world of Quess and build my confidence. All my colleagues – and I mean my peers and my seniors – made an effort to get to know me, include me and mentor me. I knew I was in the right place.

Everyone talks about the spirit of collaboration, camaraderie and connectedness at a workplace, but I experienced this in my everyday life at Quess. Weekly employee engagement activities for my family and me, wellness programs and connects, yoga workshops, Covid related leaves and support, hobby and common interest groups, training and coaching sessions, quarterly Townhalls, CSR opportunities to give back, and a plethora of other initiatives kept me fueled through the year.

With the remote work policy in full-swing, I made the most of it and went for a workcation to Goa! All my meetings were held on the beach – a perfect work-life balance! As I completed a year at Quess, while still fully remote and working from home, I knew I was a part of the Quess family – a valued stakeholder with an active interest in the company.

Nevertheless, as the pandemic slowed in 2021, Quess offices re-opened and I jumped at the chance to explore the workspace and meet my new work friends in-person! So began our hybrid work model, with me going to office two days a week, and staying at home for the rest. When going to the office I’d inform my team, book my desk, mask-up and get ready for a great day at work! After months of being afraid of meeting people, now there was no stopping me! I’ll have to admit, my productivity dropped while working in the office –simply because I was too engrossed in getting to know people face-to-face. Seeing how I’ve now developed deep friendships with my colleagues – I’d say I invested my time well. As a lockdown hire, it was thrilling to connect with people I had only seen or heard in the 2 inch boxes on MS Teams. Conversations now flowed more easily, creativity was at its best, my performance improved and my work relationships were stronger than ever. The work model gave me the best of both worlds – all the learning and networking from going to office, and the comfort and coziness of staying at home.  

Today, as I march closer to finishing two years at Quess, I’m happy to transition to a ‘Work from Office’ model and finally witness a bustling and energized office floor. Some say that we’re going back to the ‘same old’ building and the ‘same old’ people, and the ‘same old’ routine - but for me, everything is brand new. A fresh start to making new memories and achieving new milestones – while physically surrounded by those who make everything possible. I’m waiting with baited breath for what the next turn in my Quess journey will bring.


Kanika Vaish