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Jodie Mewse, the member of our Consultancy team, was ready to jump on a plane in Aberdeen and start a new chapter of her career with the department’s offices in Norway. While the lockdown continues in Scotland, Jodie is keeping in touch with her colleagues online.

Jodie Mewse has recently joined our Consultancy group in Stavanger as Consultancy Researcher. This is a promotion from her previous role as Consultancy Coordinator with the AGR Aberdeen Consultancy team.

She was supposed to be in Stavanger in the beginning of April. Although her plans were distrubted, Jodie did not let these turbulent times get in her way and threw herself into her new job remotely from the comfort of her living room and – slippers.

We caught up with Jodie to find out a bit more and what advice she has to anyone facing a similar situation.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you started with AGR?

I’ve lived in Aberdeen my entire life and after leaving school at 15, I went straight into the world of work and eventually joined the oil and gas industry. Unfortunately, I was made redundant in summer 2016 and went onto interview with AGR as a receptionist.

I got the job and loved it. An internal position soon opened up to become a Consultancy Administrator for our staffing and recruiting department. I hadn’t thought about going down this career path before but it was something new and exciting to learn. I got the position and enjoyed working in the team. From there I worked my way to an experienced Consultancy Coordinator role.

What attracted you to the opportunity in Norway?

Norway is a beautiful country and has such a different culture to us in Scotland. There’s a fantastic work/life balance which AGR encourages too. Having only ever lived in Aberdeen, I was excited at the thought of experiencing life in another country.

The job was a natural next step for my career and I felt like I was at a stage in my life where I was ready for a challenge and to try something new, out of my comfort zone.

The timing was perfect, my partner had just graduated so we didn’t have many work or financial ties here in Aberdeen.

I had met the Stavanger team over there a few times before as our two business units collaborate strategically to be able to deliver manpower to our clients on both sides of the North Sea.

I loved the way of working and thinking by the Norwegian team. We all just got on so well together, they were all so friendly and helpful.

I was very much ready to move forward in my career; I didn’t think such an amazing opportunity would come to someone like me. So, without much thought that it would go any further, I applied for the position that the AGR Consultancy in Norway had advertised externally. I thought if you don’t try, you’ll never know!

How does the new role differ to your previous one?

A Coordinator is responsible for managing the administration and contractual aspects of the business. My new role as a Researcher is to grow the business, to successfully deliver on what our clients are looking for, to expand AGR’s consultant network and meet some great people and work hard to find new opportunities.

You’ve visited the team in Stavanger in early March, what did you think?

Working within the Consultancy business unit at AGR means we provide staffing across the North Sea so we stay competitive. Important part of our daily activities is to learn from each other. My visit to Norway was a great insight into how our Consultancy team operates over there. It also gave me an insight into what I would be doing when I started.

I left feeling so enthused! Every day the team would warmly welcome me, and we would have coffees and lunch together. It was such a relaxed and “homely” environment to be in and I couldn’t wait to get started.

But then COVID-19 happened, what challenges did you face and how did you overcome these?

COVID-19 changed a lot for my partner and me, as it has done for many others during this unprecedented crisis.

My partner is currently out of work and we are unsure at this time if he has been lucky enough to be furloughed. We lost our first home together in Stavanger due to the virus and the uncertainty around it, our flights were cancelled, and our moving day was put on hold.

I have now been able to travel myself as the country is seeing gradually lifting the restrictions again, but it would still leave us uncertain as to when my partner could move over.

However, we are committed to staying positive and getting on with it. There will always be someone out there who has it worse off and we need to remember how lucky we are!

How has AGR helped you?

I’ve honestly had so much support since the very beginning and it’s made such a difference to how I’ve been able to cope with the situation. The team helped organise almost everything for my start and they have made me feel so much calmer about the current situation. I already feel part of the team and comfortable that I can ask them anything. It’s a fantastic team and I know they will do what they can to help.

What’s it been like starting a new job from home?

It feels strange working from home, my office space is currently a table set up in my living room with a chair borrowed from our Aberdeen office. I miss the small things that I usually wouldn’t think about, like the commute, dropping off my mum on the way and generally just seeing my friends and colleagues throughout the day and socialising.

For starting a new job in a different country, it is challenging to work from home. There is a lot I still need to learn, and many things are better explained or shown in person for this specific role. There is also the language aspect of the job. I’m still learning Norwegian so I am looking forward to getting over to the office so I can be in the environment where I am more likely to pick things up.

But what are the positives you have found?

I find that I’m concentrating more, which is ideal when learning a new job as you don’t want any distractions. I just put on my music and crack on with my day.

I still get dressed and ready to work but I dress less professionally at home, so I am more comfortable. My slippers are absolutely the key to comfort!

I’m learning to become more confident in myself, I feel like part of the team we often have video calls and meetings, and that is nice getting to socialise and see more friendly faces during a difficult time. It can brighten a dull day.

What advice would you give to other people in the same position as you?

I would say the main thing is to stick to a routine, during the lockdown I feel it is really easy to be unmotivated especially in a situation where you don’t know what you can do or how to progress.

I also find I work better when I sit somewhere, I know I won’t have distractions and I think asking colleagues as many questions as you can, doing your research and setting yourself goals helps to motivate yourself.

When the time eventually comes to return to normality, I can aim to feel confident in what I’m doing rather than feeling like life has been on hold.

And of course, stay positive and productive!

What do you hope the future brings?

Hopefully, it won’t be too long until I can settle into a new office, and explore an entirely new country. Also, I hope my partner will be able to move soon.

It’s so important that we all come together during this time and I just feel incredibly lucking to have such a great opportunity ahead of me.😊