Leigh Graves: My First 262 Days
There are 262 is the number of working days in a year (not that I'm counting) and this is my overview of my first year as part of the PDMS family!
As I write on the week leading to my anniversary, it is hard to remember how I felt this time last year preparing to leave the world of retail to embark upon my new adventure.
I do remember the stress of not only starting a new job but also moving house (something I do not recommend to anyone!) But as we do, we keep calm and carry on. I began my first day at PDMS as most new employees do by filling in various forms and the obligatory office tour convincing yourself you will remember everyone’s name on the first day!
My first 20 days (4 weeks) went by in a blur of introductions and overviews of things I know I won’t remember. This also included my first client visit on day 3 in which I made notes as best I could and tried to keep up. However, this was an important time for me to learn as much as I could because after day 21, I was working from home. I had to be prepared, as best I could be, to be an independent learner.
This is where my amazing team and incredibly supportive manager came in. In my short time on the Isle of Man, I was exposed to so much. Everyday was a whirlwind of learning and questions and setting me up for the next part of my venture. Without the support of my team, I would have surely been far less prepared for my return home to a half-unpacked house with an office to build (thank you IKEA).
Upon returning home, life was very different and working remotely initially felt very strange. There were the expected temptations to work in pyjamas or to work in the garden on nice days. But I was (and still am) strict with myself to keep work in the office and maintain the standards in which I would be expected in the actual office. These strict rules meant that I have never felt any different working from home as I would working on the island.
I was also surprised at how easy it was to stay in touch with my team. Both they and I make a conscious effort to stay in touch. Be it through Skype or telephone calls, I never feel alone and I am still part of the office gossip.
By day 87 (3 months into working from home) I sat down for my 3 month review thinking I hadn’t achieved much. In reality, I had written and completed thorough test plans, I was producing client monthly reports and working more and more independently. So actually, I had surprised myself as to how far I had come already.
This time during my trip to the Isle of Man, I volunteered with some careers events for schools and this was great fun. Being able to go out and work within the community I grew up in and to represent PDMS was a fantastic opportunity. From then on, I have been eager to participate more in these types of events when I can.
Roll on day 121, my first Christmas working in my new role. Although the office was quiet, it was a great time for me to catch up on my formal learning in hopes of gaining a professional qualification at the end. At the time of writing, I am revising for my impending test. Wish me luck!
If you had asked me last July if I thought I could gain a qualification in my new career within a year, I probably would have laughed thinking it would never be possible. However opportunities can often surprise us.
Roll forward to a new year and new responsibilities. Not only that of now being a puppy-parent to my very own office dog but on day 206 I jetted off with a colleague to Gibraltar to deliver training to a client in gorgeous 23-degree heat! ME?! The ‘trainee’!
However, by this point I had tested and explored their system in great detail so every question they asked I could mostly answer. Plus, my travelling companion was amazing at filling in the gaps I didn’t know. This was such an amazing opportunity and I was so honoured to be able to have that trust to represent PDMS again but this time on an international scale.
If asked to summarise my first 262 days in 262 words I don’t feel as though I could. It is not possible to articulate how much I have learned and experienced within 12 short months.
I am truly thankful to PDMS and my team for providing me with this amazing opportunity. I truly feel like part of the family and I look forward to seeing where I am on day 523 for my two-year anniversary!
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