As my one year contract role with Google came to a sweet end in March 2020, it was time to put myself out there for an interview yet again. In the midst of hunting for a new opportunity, Covid19 presented itself to all of us globally. Knowing how difficult these past 6 months have been for many, I am thankful to share my latest career move and hope it inspires others to not give up hope. Feel free to reach out to me too if you’d like to discuss your career, find out more about the start-up world or just life in general. I’m here for you!
It goes without saying in these past few months, many around me started getting nervous as discussions of restructuring were rife, many layoffs were on the horizon and pivoting business models became a common topic. I was extremely nervous as it’s the first health pandemic and economic crisis bundled into one for me whilst undeniably my family were afraid for me. Thankfully my ex-colleague (shoutout Jo Yee) reached out to me and gave me a referral alongside the quick response from the HR team (shoutout Cheryl), I received a call from foodpanda (yes, it is spelled with a small f).
Having completed my 8th year in tech, F&B wasn’t an industry that I had worked in thus far. I had gotten my hands dirty with e-commerce, fashion, travel, and community to name a few. My toes curled as I interviewed but I was confident that I knew community building and marketing well enough to land a role. Covid continued happening in the background and it was the start of circuit breaker in Singapore, but thankfully an offer came through and I started excitedly for my very first day on the 10th of April 2020.
Started the day with an hour long Zoom onboarding session with my fellow new joinees and HR, followed by a company wide weekly online huddle with 150 other employees. Fast you may think? Super fast in my opinion (no honeymoon period at all) yet so seamless at the same time. I proudly say this is my 10th role switch (between Malaysia, India and Singapore) but by far the most effective, smooth, and uninterrupted onboarding session.
My week was planned out for me with multiple meetings amongst various stakeholders and more onboarding sync ups with HR. The HR was very prompt with my various questions and ensured I was equipped to kickstart my role. I am very thankful for all the short meetings organized with different faces as it is never easy meeting someone for the first time virtually. I have definitely worked for global teams where team mates are in India, HK, SEA and US but this particular circumstance of ‘forced work from home’ during these tough times was not an easy one.
I received my well equipped onboarding package too via contactless delivery with a brand new laptop, a super sweet note from HR and lots of snacks to keep me awake and alive throughout this period. The level of detailing was admirable for such a small HR team as they made each one of us feel very included with the various perks and benefits. How can I forget to mention that we have a weekly corporate allowance to enjoy scrumptious food from our partners at the comfort of our homes. (Hint : Share this link with your HR)
1st Month – Learning and Development
Slowly getting used to the work from home culture, to many video calls with my peers, this journey felt real yet it took quite a bit of getting used to. Exciting times for the F&B industry as dine in was shut down for a good 3 months to many customers opting for take outs and food delivery. Definitely the best time to join a unicorn like foodpanda. It was an immediate work mode from the 2nd week with brainstorming, meetings, research, planning, and many other things with various stakeholders. I was thrown into the deep end straight away. There was no shying away in giving my opinions or leading meetings.
I was assigned a buddy who is also my immediate reporting line which made weekly meetings so much more fun, insightful and a satisfactory learning experience (shoutout Amirul). He made sure I had all the various reading materials that helped me understand the brand, business, self improvement while meeting the right teams to achieve my goals and mentored me as I faced the various roadblocks. This team work and buddy system was definitely something I missed and crave for.
2nd Month – Fun and Deep dive
Joined an online team bonding session on a random chilly Wednesday night with my teammates. We ordered food and drinks in our respective houses and logged in after work on Zoom to simply get to know each other and play some games. It was definitely something I needed personally to see the goofiness of my colleagues outside of the work setting and relax after a hectic month of picking up my role.
This role was a brand new role created as well as different from my previous roles. Previously, it was more customer facing, audio + video calls, driving acquisition on ground to giving talks in universities. But this time it is more data driven, building user journeys, simplifying processes, managing internal and external stakeholders and finally finding the best way to communicate during these unprecedented times.
3rd Month and ahead – Grateful
When work got serious, deadlines were due, meetings got more frequent and the calendar was filling up, the energy was still high. I cannot lie, I love waking up on Monday mornings for the weekly huddle. With various teams sharing their highs and lows (numbers flying across screens, so shushhhh internal stuff) for the previous week and with HR making it interesting with Kahoot games to hype up the week, I look forward to Mondays.
Work is picking up, hectic, the learning hasn’t stopped, my role is ever changing, I am excited to see what is coming ahead. I have learned using tools I never used before and I am happy to have picked up these skills (baby steps). Everyday calls with my family are about sharing something new I learnt or a conversation I had with a peer that taught me something (Mailchimp, Salesforce, Datastudio, Tableau just to name a few tools that I learnt in just 1month of my role- trust me many companies still do things very manually and I didn’t get the opportunity to get my hands dirty or rather my previous roles didn’t require me to see such information first hand). I just turned 30 a month ago and realised it now, it is indeed never too late to learn and never be shy to ask.
I know we always say don’t count your eggs before it hatches and it has only been 3 months, so don’t be too happy that things are going smoothly. Regardless of what the future may hold personally, professionally or globally, I can confidently say I have learnt so much in just 3 months, I’m happy with the skills I have acquired and I’m blessed with the relationships I have built with various individuals and teams. Reason for this sharing is also because I have had my fair share of layoffs, companies who struggle with funding, small teams, negative work culture that has made me question my choices to stick in this line rather than switching industries/to corporate.
I’m only 1% done with my goal of moving into product someday but I am excited for the years ahead. I hope Covid improves globally and many others will get the opportunity that I got to experience. Writing this post on a weekend but it was something I have been meaning to write and share with everyone that we all will get to see the rainbow after the rain someday respectively. (Hint : foodpanda Career page)
Shoutout to the Malaysian, Regional and Local Singapore team for all your help with onboarding a fellow foodpanda buddy. You guys have made these 3 months so much more interesting, fun, huge learnings, respectful, eye opening, and a breeze. THANK YOU 🙂