When you imagine office life, the first descriptor you might use is probably not the word fun. So, when I accepted the position at Appnovation, I knew I would learn a lot, but I was unsure of what kind of experiences I would have.
The first day I came in, it was one of the heaviest blankets of snow for the year. It took me around two and a half hours to make it into the office. When I finally got there, I realized most employees stayed home to avoid getting stuck in the snow. Luckily, HR, my manager, and another co-op made it to the office. We went over my onboarding, I looked around the office, I met with the few people who made it in, and I had lunch with everyone there. I had only been there a couple of hours and the snow seemed to be getting worse. I was dreading going back because I knew it was going to be at least another two hours on transit. However, knowing the transit situation, our CEO offered to drive us home. Appnovation did a great job of making me feel comfortable even in a tough time.
After my initial rough day, everything went smoothly. During my training, I was able to shadow a project the team was working on. Everyone was brought on and worked to finish it by the deadline. Being able to shadow and do small tasks allowed me to experience what goes into a bid, what areas to focus on, and also get feedback from management. It was the best first bid as we won a large-sized contract. With that experience, I was able to work on my own bids, at first with a senior co-op, then by myself. Later on, I became the senior co-op with a junior co-op assisting me.
Along with my work experience, I was able to gain a lot of social experiences. My whole team was a pleasure to work with. Everyone was approachable and would answer any questions I had. As well, co-workers were friendly and would talk about their weekend, plans, and any work they were up to. In my position, I was lucky enough to be able to talk to many different departments, so I always had someone interesting to talk to. I also got the opportunity to chat with other employees through Appnovation’s social events. These social events included after work socials, Employee Appreciation Day, and team lunches. Many times, food and drinks were available after we were done with our tasks.
My first few months with Appnovation were excellent but another speed bump hit my term. COVID-19 forced us all to work from home. I was happy to be able to save on transit and time, but I was going to miss all the social interaction and activities associated with being in a physical office. The first week or so was tough to adjust. Every meeting was now online and they did not have the same feel to them. However, thanks to my manager and the team’s commitment, we were able to still operate as we did before. We had daily stand-up meetings and called often.
The co-ops worked together to create meetings where we could get more human interactions so we could still ask questions and socialize. Our team set up calls to work on assignments together through Zoom. We used Google Calendar to find space in our schedules and set meetings. Also, we used Slack chats to keep us informed on what work needed to be done and also share a few laughs throughout the day.
Even with the bumps in the road, I still thoroughly enjoyed my co-op term. Being able to adapt to changing working environments is key to having a successful career. Getting this kind of experience is irreplaceable for my career and overall growth as a person.
Beyond the Blog
For more opportunities like Kevin's, visit SFU's Business Co-op Page!