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I started my new career … mid-pandemic

Alex Halsey

If there’s one thing 2020 has taught us, it’s the value of having the mind-space to deal with the unexpected. 

As lockdown hit London, I prepared for my new career challenge in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

After interviewing in February, I joined the Thomson Reuters Labs team in London this May as a Senior Designer. Little did I know, I would never actually manage to make it to the office before lockdown swept, and working from home would become the new norm.

Two months before my start date, I was contacted and assured that I was still being hired, which I must admit I had panicked about with the COVID-19 pandemic. Before officially starting, the correspondence with my design manager and the London team manager was great.

A big virtual welcome to the team

After deciding to move back home for lockdown duration, I started my new role in my salmon pink childhood bedroom with a doll painfully in view during my first-ever meeting (the blur effect on Teams has since become my savior!) 

My first two weeks were webcam intense! Between many introductory calls with my design team and onboarding buddies, I had my fill of screen time. Although I still remain the girl who hates even ordering a pizza over the phone, it was helpful to talk to everyone on an individual basis. These filled in for the 'grabbing a coffee' or 'having lunch' chats, which I probably would have had in-person to get to know the team during this time. Despite onboarding virtually, everyone was super supportive and made me feel part of the team from day one.

Challenging myself with a new role in a new field  

Just as I'd thought starting a new role, the learning curve was steep, made steeper still, stuck in my bedroom. My previous role had been e-commerce, and as such, I'd had zero experience with the legal or tax world. Although I wanted to get going, my limited legal knowledge left me stumped at first. PowerPoints took me triple the time it should. Meetings left me with a different list of questions, and watching previous research interviews required constant pausing and googling.

A gift which lockdown did grace me with was that, to succeed, I knew I couldn't be shy about looking silly by asking questions. Suddenly with an invisible hall pass to ask questions, the team and I had post-meeting calls answering every question I had.

Aside from the legal jargon, my role was to lead the user experience workstream, guiding the project to answer its needs--this aspect I was confident in. As this project was still in the research phase, I used my time to organize previous findings, design a script to answer further questions, iterate upon an earlier prototype, and creating surveys to gain extra insights into the problem space.

How I’m feeling four months in #WorkingAtTR

Upon reflection, the biggest lesson I've learned is fully understanding why a problem is being solved. Also, no matter where you work, when you have a group of talented people, they can come together as a team to solve any problem.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my first four months with the Thomson Reuters Labs, and I'm excited to keep going. I've started working with Westlaw and can't wait to keep learning about it.

Make sure to stay tuned to learn more about Alex’s journey as a Senior Designer at TR. Interested in joining our team, check out our open opportunities here.

About

Alex is a Senior Designer at the Thomson Reuters Labs in London, UK.

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