First day nerves are typical when starting a new job. But what happens when your first day of a new job and career is remote?

I would have never guessed that I would have started my professional career virtually…in the middle of a pandemic…at a water solutions and technology company.

But, now that I’m here, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I am currently a member of Xylem’s Engineering Leadership Development Program (ELDP). This is a two year program for recent graduates consisting of three eight-month rotations designed for a broad look at the engineering field. Each rotation is different, exposing program members to a new team, a new commodity, a new brand within Xylem and even a new location. I was drawn to the idea of a rotational program and the concept of gaining a vast amount of knowledge and experience in a short period of time. Xylem’s development program allows its members to take ownership of our careers – our rotations are specifically tailored our individual interests and professional goals.

Besides mastering the art of Zoom, I am blown away at the amount of things that I have learned in the short three months I’ve been with Xylem. Here are some things I have taken away from the unexpected experience of starting this new career virtually:

  1. Foster Connection:

Virtual work has provided me with the opportunity to connect with co-workers and leadership teams around the country and globe to gain insights on just how multifaceted Xylem is. These connections are valuable as they lead to mentorships and continuous professional development throughout and after the program.

2. Communicate Effectively:

Communication has shifted to adapt to the virtual work environment. The challenge I faced was getting to know my co-workers through a computer screen and missing out on quick office pop-ins for questions, explanations, or just to say hello. However, because of this I have learned to overcommunicate to provide further context as well as be conscious of setting up specific time with my team members to touch base about action items and personal life.

3. Find Alignment:

After discovering Xylem’s program on my university’s job board, I knew it would be a great fit. Even though I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in my career, I knew I wanted to make a difference. By seeking out companies that aligned with my core values, I was able to find a job where my work gives me a sense of connection to a larger purpose. Even though I’m not physically around my colleagues, we are all working toward a larger goal to make a difference. Xylem’s qualities and values align perfectly with mine having the right mix of principle and impact.

4. Manage Time and Motivation:

Time management and self-motivation skills are more important than ever but at the same time might be hard to come by. I have always been one to focus on making well thought out decisions in order to get the best outcome. That decision making process is an overlooked aspect that can impact time management. Being aware of the time you have and adjusting to any last minute changes or high pressure situations can lead to success in staying on task and avoiding distractions.

5. Embrace Flexibility:

The ELDP role itself requires a lot of flexibility since the roles change every eight months. I have learned to embrace change, adapt to shifting priorities, and even make mistakes because it will allow me to expand my horizon and gain unique experiences and skills. Finding a way to say ‘yes’ more than ‘no’ will promote growth and potentially create paths that wouldn’t have been found otherwise.

I am now about three months into my first rotation with the Sensus Software Services and Communication Infrastructure (SSCI) team and am enjoying every second of it. My time with Xylem has just begun and I am beyond grateful to be a part of a company and team that supports a program like the ELDP. Let’s Solve Water!