Alena Nikolayenia is a Chartered Tax Adviser at Martyn Fiddler Aviation. Alena joined the team when Martyn Fiddler Aviation expanded to Ireland in 2020, ...Contact Alena Nikolayenia
What is it like to start a new job in the lockdown?
Imagine what it would be like if the first day of your new job took place in your living room...? Instead of walking into a new office - a bundle of nerves and excitement – you are perched on your sofa, juggling introductory video calls and emails. This has been my reality for the last 3 months and I wanted share how I have tried to make the best of it.
I joined the Martyn Fiddler Aviation Irish office just 3 days before lockdown began and as a result I had only physically met 3 out of 37 employees. This meant I had to get to know my other 34 new colleagues via the magical powers of the internet.
To my surprise, interacting every day with a team of people I've never met before hasn't felt too strange. The Martyn Fiddler team made me feel so welcome; in replacement of lots of hand shaking, I received dozens of welcoming introductory emails and phone calls from my new colleagues, just to check on me and to let me know that they are there for me, if I need anything at all.
Interacting with my new team mates via video call has given me a unique chance to familiarise myself with their skills and expertise and to experience how the company is adjusting to the Covid-19 lockdown. I wondered whether the training programme for my induction would be pushed to one side while the directors and management team implemented their business continuity plan. Thankfully, that hasn't been the case. I've had a great amount of guidance and support from the directors and my team members, especially from Adrian and Greta who have provided me with valuable guidance in tax implications around aircraft transactions and ensured that my days are always filled with tasks to help me grow within my new tax role.
I can only imagine how hard it must be for my new colleagues, who don't know the full scope of my abilities (other than what they learned on my CV and at interview), to delegate work to me. My answer to this has been to always offer my assistance: not only with my core skill set (Irish tax), but anything where I think I can add value or be of help. It's extremely important in the current circumstances to stay pro-active.
As a newcomer to Martyn Fiddler Aviation, my team are aware that I'm in a unique position to see things with fresh eyes. I've been asked to offer suggestions for improvement, to be a second set of eyes on work already completed and to create first draft documents to get used to new a new business advice format.
I've found that working at Martyn Fiddler Aviation is not all about formalities. To maintain staff morale and keep everyone laughing, weekly competitions were launched on the team WhatsApp group; this has given me a chance to get to know my new colleagues more personally. It has also helped me to integrate at my new workplace and it's felt that in this time of isolation there have been clear efforts made to make me feel part of the team, which I really appreciate.
Overall, we are all learning and adjusting together during lockdown and despite a rather 'unusual' start, I am really enjoying being part of the Martyn Fiddler Aviation team in these interesting times.
My advice to anyone in a similar position would be to simply embrace it! Try to be as pro-active as possible, let your abilities be known and join in with any virtual social opportunities on offer to get to know your new colleagues.
To say a final word, I must mention that the recent landing of the heaviest aircraft ever built and the largest wingspan of an aircraft currently in service, Antonov An-225 Mriya (which was built in Ukraine, the country that shares the same border with Belarus, where I was born) has made a huge impression on me. I was astonished by its landing in Shannon, and despite my being with Martyn Fiddler Aviation for 3 months, I have already caught the aviation bug. In fact I am already thinking about tax implications!