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How Kevin Bandy was thrown into a job search at the start of the pandemic

Starting a new job is a daunting task and a very human thing under normal circumstances. Recently due to the COVID-19 pandemic I found myself interviewing at a company, accepting an offer and beginning on-boarding in the new normal: fully-remote.

Looking back, it seems fortunate that I was laid off a few weeks before the measures were in place to combat the coronavirus. I was on the hunt for a new job as a software developer in Atlanta in a time where the market was hot. Not even hours after our internal announcement of potential layoffs, there were recruiters starting to beat down the doors of my colleagues. I started fielding some of these inbounds and when the news of my former company’s merger and layoffs went public I proceeded to switch my LinkedIn setting to show others my interest in new opportunities. The flip of that switch opened the floodgates to 5–7 recruiter inbound calls and emails per day.

I honestly felt a bit overwhelmed and while expectations at work had dropped to nearly zero, I was as busy as ever. I felt like I had to work overtime to prepare for coding interviews, scheduling and replying to recruiters not to mention appearing for my on-site interviews around town. Once the news hit that the coronavirus was a risk within the US borders I was already laid off; spending my days fully focused on finding my new role with a few interviews in flight.

I ultimately chose to join a great team at Calendly. We are an Atlanta-based company that is growing rapidly and is doing great things to help those who are moving remote amidst all of this. The interview process went surprisingly well considering that we’ve had a remote policy in place since the beginning. While most employees were fully remote for the first time at Calendly, they had used tools such as Zoom for video conferencing. There was already a focus on documentation to keep everyone on the same page without the natural collaboration that happens only in person.

Coding interviews taken online are nothing new, but it’s interesting to see how that works when you go deeper with the process. At Calendly, the process includes expanding a take home assignment and debugging some code in person. Well, in this case “in-person” means online and that was a fun and interesting challenge.

After receiving and accepting an offer it was a matter of going through the typical flow for on-boarding but led to some surprising alternatives. Once I had signed everything electronically I had to show my documents for the legal I-9 requirements. So at this point human contact had to be made and the plan was to meet in a parking lot with those documents and while-you’re-there pick up my work laptop. It was a funny feeling to pull into the corner of a parking lot, flash a passport to someone and walk away with a new laptop.

The nervous excitement of starting a new job was contrasted against the sobering view of colleagues and friends posting day after day of being laid off and cut backs all around me. I am still trying to find ways to help them out and trying to promote the openings I’m aware of alongside the candidates I know who are looking. The market is changing quickly and it’s worrying to see how bad things might get.

What I’m excited for is to see where we arrive on the other side of this pandemic. It won’t be an easy journey and not all of us will weather this storm. I hope that the pain endured has a brighter future as a result. Perhaps our forced experimentation with remote work will open up that opportunity for others. Perhaps we’ll find ourselves valuing friendships and closeness with others higher now that it’s been so removed. Perhaps we’ll rethink our lifestyles to be healthier and more resilient both physically and financially. Most importantly, perhaps, we’ll get through this together and not take our health or our future for granted.

Keep surviving. Value your relationships. Wash your hands.

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