From the office to home, a new working reality

Aravinth KrishnathaWe’ve all heard on many occasions that co-op work terms are a great representation of the real world. It gives students a perspective on how our lives will be after we graduate. With that said, completing a co-op during a global pandemic takes it to a whole new level—though it certainly helped me learn how to adapt in the face of adversity.

This winter, I completed my last co-op term as an Experienced Associate in Risk Assurance at PwC. During the workplace transition from the office to working from home (WFH), I was assigned a major bank (a client many fear in the office due to the abundance of work and impediments). Given this opportunity, I wanted to show my employer I was valuable by taking on the challenge and testing my skills.

To set myself up for success, I redesigned my room to create the best WFH environment possible. I was able to complete this with a benefit provided by my employer as well as using my own funds. Once I created my ideal environment, I established a few ground rules with my siblings and parents to ensure I was not bothering them while working (and vice versa). Now came the most challenging part, the on-boarding for this client account (“engagement”), along with getting introduced to my new team.

Essentially, I was joining the second pass of this engagement midway in. So, I really had to step up my game to learn as much about the client as possible and what the deliverables included. Luckily, my team and the Senior Associate I was paired with were very considerate and helpful, and I didn’t hesitate to message them to ask questions about work.

They nurtured me and made sure I did not feel lost throughout the remaining weeks of my co-op. We had daily huddle board meetings that broke down our progress, as well as weekly off the ice meetings to get to know each other and relax.

Next, in terms of work, I pounced on every opportunity I had. I efficiently completed my tasks and would ask for more work to complete when finished. I would frequent our chats and help our Seniors Associates complete their work. Ultimately, I used this extraordinary circumstance to thrive. I wanted to showcase that I would be able to succeed despite any curveballs thrown at me.

When I left my co-op, I was advised that the Senior Manager and Manager of the client engagement personally requested to have me join their team again when I returned. My hard work paid off and was noticed!

My advice to future co-op students is that it is easy for someone to complete the same task as you, but they cannot replicate your positive attitude, and work ethic. Work hard despite the circumstances thrown at you, as you can’t see a rainbow without a storm!

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