Young professionals starting their career paths in the wake of COVID-19 have faced unique challenges their older colleagues never encountered. Junior Associate Jana Lausevic shares her journey of entering – and adapting to – a much changed work environment.
Trying to join the workforce – and finding my footing in the workplace – in the post-pandemic era presented many unique challenges. It was uncharted territory, for sure.
Our new “normal” consisted of thisday, thatday, otherday, someday, yesterday, today, and nextday. I read somewhere, “If you would like to know how it felt to be looking for work during the pandemic, remember when the Titanic was sinking and the band continued to play? Well, we were the band.” Hopelessly showcasing our stories, experiences, talent, and dedication to an audience that couldn’t afford to get close enough to hear them.
Until one finally did.
I was in Miami working a live events production job. As you may recall, during this time Florida had its own set of rules and provided a haven for people willing to risk anything and everything for Spring Break. I’d soon come to realize how unhappy I was working under these conditions in the Sunshine State.
My rescue – and ticket out – came through the S Jay Levy Fellowship for Future Leaders at The City College of New York. The fellowship is a long-standing partner of RooneyPartners and the firm had an opening for their internship program. Without hesitation, I applied.
It all started with a panel interview. During the second round, I took an internship test that consisted of creating a press release and a briefing document. I went into the experience with one objective: to be a sponge and absorb every bit of knowledge.
I had always been interested in the public relations and marketing world, but aside from my college degree – which only provided me with the theory involved – I was lacking real-world experience. Due to COVID, I didn’t get too many opportunities to explore the industry prior to applying. All the more reason why I went into this head-on: this was finally my chance to come out of the rubble and take my first step into the real world.
Following the second interview round, I learned I had been offered the position. This was it. My time to shine and absorb!
From my start as an intern to my promotion as a Junior Associate, I went through several training programs. There was a training program for Junior Associates, customized for beginners in the field. It taught us everything from professionalism, strategy, tactics, knowledge, perspective, and creativity, to hard skills such as social media, networking, content strategy, and development. Each of these sessions was led by one or more team members with the most experience in the given topic. The sessions were structured more as an interactive discussion rather than a lecture, keeping us all engaged.
Another training program I am currently taking is the Financial Fluency and Communications Program, designed to instill an array of knowledge ranging from basic financial terminology, stock prices, financial information services, and much more. The program will eventually feature topics including comparative analysis, investment community players, short-seller campaigns, activist campaigns, and how to pitch an investment story to the business/financial media. For this “sponge,” it has been a great opportunity to absorb all this knowledge!
The RooneyPartners experience has been a unique one. It was inconceivable to me that I would be given the opportunity to learn as much as I have on this job. With all the various training sessions, the mentorship programs, and the generosity I have experienced with each and every team member, my expectations have been exceeded. Everyone emits such an accommodating spirit, with their willingness to guide and support any stumbles one might have along the way.
If you had told me two years ago that I would be here, I wouldn’t have believed you. But I have found my footing.