New job? Welcome to lockdown! – Satish Mohanty

I was really happy when I was offered a role within SSP’s India-based offices: I had heard about this company from my friends and knew this was a good place to work.

My first day started in March 2020 with an induction where we were told all about the company – who the founder was, the kind of products SSP develops, all the varying departments and their roles – plus many other things. Afterwards my manager introduced me to the team. Though I started the day both excited and a bit nervous, I soon discovered that everyone here is really helpful as the environment here is quite friendly. We also went on a tour and I discovered that this company cares about its employees and ensures that there is a balance between work and fun. 

During my training I learned many things about the nature of my work and my teammates – but just as I was beginning to get the hang of my work, and was about to be assigned my first task after settling in, COVID-19 started spreading with alarming intensity and Gurugram was among the worst hit places in the country. As soon as we had confirmation that the situation was serious, managers cascaded down that we were all to start working from home as per the government guidelines. This would be my first time working from home ever and I was not very familiar with my work yet – nor was I sure whom to contact in case of emergencies as I had only just joined here. Needless to say it was daunting.

I faced quite a lot of challenges at first – power cuts at home, and my system freezing in the middle of work to name two. It felt like a task to even wake up in the morning: it was tough preparing myself mentally because, even though I was at home, I still had to maintain a rigorous routine and work equally (if not more) hard. It’s human for the mind to wander when there’s no one to supervise us so it was sometimes difficult to remain focused and work around the office schedule. Even at home, I felt eyes on me and the need to prove myself: I had no other option to find my focus and to keep working hard to pass probation. I would get frustrated at times due to the power cuts, slow internet, or remote access dropping out – these things were out of my control yet deadlines couldn’t budge regardless. I established workarounds: whenever it seemed like there’d be a power failure, I would ask neighbours to use their Wi-Fi or ask my brother to turn on his hotspot; when there were network connectivity issues, I moved to work out on the terrace for better reception. Slowly my problems started decreasing. I also regularly kept in touch with my seniors and team leader so whenever I faced some issues at work, they were on-hand and happy to help despite their own busy schedules. I had also attended our first online AHM (“All Hands Meet” – a companywide meeting) during this lockdown which was a new experience for me; it was very good and had interesting content.

Now looking back, it hardly seems like months have already passed and the word “lockdown” is now just a word to me as I’m quite used to this way of living now. At first it felt like I was trapped at home and would get really irritated over the inability to go out and do what I liked. To cope, I made sure to follow my hobbies at weekends (writing and singing raps) to cheer myself up. Now I’m accustomed to the lockdown, I wonder if it’ll be easy to slip back into my pre-lockdown life – the life that I once thought of as normal. This question is always looming in my mind: when the lockdown lifts and offices open, will I still want to go out? Whilst entertaining these thoughts, I received a call from my manager: my probation period had finally finished, I’d passed, and I was now a permanent employee. This was the much-needed silver lining/good news I’d been hoping for – the end-goal I’d been working so tenaciously for.

My journey as a new starter at SSP has been nothing less than a rollercoaster but I’m glad that even when I was low, I managed to pick myself back up again. I’m so happy that this company gave me a chance to showcase my skills and I’m positive that I will keep giving back  to each and every aspect of my time in SSP.

Satish Mohanty,
Software Engineer