09/02/2020

Remote onboarding is like flying an alien spaceship

By: Mike Lahoda

Remote onboarding is like flying an alien spaceship

At 16, I started my first job as a busboy. The most memorable part of that first day was meeting the bartender, Ryan. He didn’t even introduce himself. He just looked me in the eye and launched into an Oscar-worthy recital of Bill Pullman’s speech from Independence Day. You know, the one just before the ragtag team takes to the skies to fend off the aliens. The waitstaff assembled behind me and cheered as Ryan climbed onto the bar and finished his address, fired up for a night of slinging wings, pouring drinks, and defending the earth from alien overlords. I was pretty confused.

Leading up to my start at 2A, I was a bit nervous about the remote onboarding process. Starting any new job can be stressful, and with the addition of being remote I worried about feeling lost in space. Fortunately, Planet 2A is home to some of the friendliest, smartest humans in the galaxy, which made for a stellar onboarding experience. Here are my tips for getting up to lightspeed when beginning a new job remotely. 

Study your spacecraft

When Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum pilot the alien spaceship for the first time, they accidentally set off in reverse and almost crash. That’s kind of what starting a new job is like: there are a lot of unfamiliar buttons and you’re not sure what each of them do or when they should be pushed. Be patient and learn from others before flying solo.

Have a Will Smith to your Jeff Goldblum

You’re going to need a good co-pilot, and my manager Annie is an ace. In addition to frequently checking in with me, Annie guided me through our 2A Living Practice trainings, had me shadow her in client meetings, and answered the millions of questions I asked. She’s at the controls beside me as I take off on my own projects. 

Make contact and show that you come in peace

I made it a priority to schedule meetings with my teammates. In the dark void of space—I mean, the remote-working world—there’s no watercooler talk or popping over to a colleague’s desk to brainstorm. I’m still waiting on holographic communication, but video chat is a capable substitute, especially in one-on-one and small-group settings.

We’re living through a strange time. In 2020, the prospect of waking up to news headlines of invading extraterrestrials seems entirely plausible. Work is different now. If you’re starting a new job remotely, remember that this is uncharted territory for everyone. It will require patience, trust, and communication as we learn new ways of working together from the comfort of our own home planets.