Six Months A Coug

If you had told me that I would spend the first half year of a new job primarily at home, I probably wouldn’t believe you. But that would have been my thinking pre-COVID. As we all are very familiar with now, this virus has a way of crushing norms.

Thumbs up for my six-month anniversary at Washington State University. Had to get Sid to snap a photo of me in my closet office.

Today I mark six months as an employee at Washington State University. When I have a meeting with someone for the first time, my go-to icebreaker is to tell them that I literally spent one day in my on-campus office before receiving the directive to work from home. It’s true. On March 16 I traveled with my supervisor to Pullman for that first day. When I was packing up to leave that night, we were told to prepare to work from home for the next couple weeks. Well, 26 weeks later…

I was all smiles my first (and only) day on campus.

Despite the strange circumstances and the unprecedented period we are navigating in higher education, I have thoroughly enjoyed my first six months at WSU and am so happy that I made the decision to work for the Cougs. I am in a good spot.

What I have treasured most during my short time at WSU is just being able to contribute. With the COVID crisis really turning everything upside-down, there was plenty to do the moment I switched from teal and bronze to crimson and gray. Besides assisting with our coronavirus response, I have been able to focus on the things that really attracted me to the job: analytics, paid social advertising, and campaign development.

Before moving into the closet at our new house, this was my at-home office

I have also taken on projects and efforts that are vitally important in the current educational climate. To be entrusted with such tasks at a major land grant institution is exactly the direction I wanted to take my career in.

To say I am grateful for both my position and the projects assigned to me is an understatement. I can’t thank my bosses enough for affording me both. I have remained impressed and inspired by our department leadership and feel fortunate to work in such a great work climate…even if it is a virtual one.

Our family is proud to be Cougs!

Making the work climate so effective and welcoming goes beyond my bosses. My co-workers have a lot to do with it too. I work with some talented and dedicated individuals who also are team players. Even though I have primarily worked with them via Zoom, the work relationships feel authentic and very similar to all of the ones I have had in the past.

The next six months will be interesting to say the least. Who knows where we will be with this virus and what instruction at WSU will look like. Needless to say, when March 16, 2021, comes around I will have a very interesting post to pen about my first year as a Coug. Don’t Blink.

The Joys of Working from Home

This morning, I had a moment of complete gratitude. It hit me how lucky I have been to stay at home with my family during the workday. Please know that I would trade anything to end this awful pandemic and cease the suffering of so many, but I also don’t think it is necessarily a bad thing to appreciate some of the outcomes that have transpired due to social distancing measures.

I don’t think the opportunity to work from home could have come at a better time for my family. As they continue their cross-country transition, we are thankful that I can have a 24/7 presence in the house to offer stability and support. Although I am obviously tied up from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., I know the comfort of having me upstairs is a very welcome feeling to Sid, Sloan, and Beau.

But I think the arrangement might boost my psyche even more than it does theirs. To spend time with my children all the way up until I report to my upstairs closet office in the morning is a blessing. Not going to lie, it is stressful getting them ready for the day and then hauling them off to daycare before making my own commute. With that out of the equation, I can really enjoy the time I have with them, which leads to me reporting to the job in a happy and refreshed mood.

Never before have I looked more forward to the lunch hour. Forget about eating a sandwich alone at my desk. I now get to join my wife for leftovers or something else that doesn’t consist of peanut butter and bread. Sometimes we will eat outside on our back deck and watch Sloan play. Other times we will turn on the news or Netflix and eat on the couch. What a nice and healthy way to break up the day. 

Last week, Sid and I ate out on the back deck and watched Sloan run through the sprinklers during the lunch hour.

Then comes quitting time. Walking down the stairs to begin the evening with my wife and kids is so much better than jumping in a car and battling traffic. I also don’t feel stressed when it comes to wrapping up tasks at the end of the day because the pressure of battling the clock to leave the office on time just isn’t there.

Best of all, I like the brief moments of interaction I get to have with my family while I am holed up in my home office. Sloan will sometimes bust in with a huge grin on her face. Sid will bring Beau by on a daily basis so he can say “hi” to me. These little things propel me forward and brighten my day.

Working from the comfort of your own home has plenty of advantages, both from family and productivity perspectives. One day I might write about the latter, but tonight it is about the one that matters the most. I am trying to embrace and appreciate this arrangement as much as possible because I know it is a luxury that many of us will only enjoy for a very short time in our careers. Don’t Blink.