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Mistr

Mistr enjoys the ride

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Mistr enjoys the ride

 

Life is likely to keep taking strange turns. My goal for this challenge is to relax and enjoy the ride.

 

I did pretty well last challenge with balancing fun activities and chores. I want to expand on that trend this time. I just picked up Caesar III, an old computer game that I started playing in grad school. I never finished it ('cause grad school). I still enjoy it a lot. This is my promised reward for doing chores. I'm offering myself a 2-for-1 deal. For every 30 minutes of work, I get to play for an hour. In practice I haven't been using all my play time. I started this past weekend and got a lot of chores done.

 

My other main fun thing is spinning. My next fiber to spin is the silk on the right in the photo below. The green/blue silk on the left is already spun and just waiting to be plyed. I'm going to get that done first because it is really fast to do. I got the silk at a dyeing workshop two years ago, which makes it the newest fiber in my stash.

 

 V7LNul1.jpg?1

 

I have knitting and embroidery projects going too, but those are not calling my name as loudly right now.

 

Keeping up with exercise is important to make my knees happy. It makes other parts of me happy too, but my knees protest painfully when neglected. I'm doing the NF basic kettlebell workout alternating with core yoga or NF yoga. I just started learning to do Turkish get-ups, which are not part of the NF circuit. I'd like to add in silk reeling exercise too.

 

In a perfect world, I'd like to lose the 10 pounds I've gained over the last 6 months. Realistically, I will concentrate on eating veggies and protein and keeping snacks to a minimum.

 

Going to bed on time is not exactly a goal so much as a promise I made to Dumbledore. He is trying to go to bed earlier and me being up makes that harder. Why is not clear to me, since he is usually at the opposite end of the house in the evening. In any case, I promised and it helps me get enough sleep. Sleep is good for my outlook and productivity.

 

Overall my main objective is to keep a good attitude.

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11 hours ago, Mistr said:

Going to bed on time is not exactly a goal so much as a promise I made to Dumbledore. He is trying to go to bed earlier and me being up makes that harder. Why is not clear to me, since he is usually at the opposite end of the house in the evening. In any case, I promised and it helps me get enough sleep. Sleep is good for my outlook and productivity.

 

Sleep is a good thing...I know personally when D and I were sleeping apart it was harder to fall asleep because I was used to someone else being there, was nothing to do with noise they may or may not be making

I can't believe I've found your challenge so quickly this time! :D This makes me very happy

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18 hours ago, Mistr said:

Realistically, I will concentrate on eating veggies and protein and keeping snacks to a minimum.

 

I'm stealing this for my next challenge.

 

The silk fibers look awesome. There are so many weird shapes hiding in them in that picture too!

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I seem to be able to do about two out of three or four things on my list each day.

 

Yesterday I did core yoga, a short zazen session and a short walk with Dumbledore at lunch. I intended to do gardening after work, but just didn't want to. I did some cooking and balanced one account.

 

Tuesday I did zazen but not exercise. I was only marginally productive at work, but I got a bunch of stuff done at home. I plyed the green silk yarn, cleaned the windows and window seats in the family room, did Duolingo and worked on finances. I'm working in the family room, so having clean windows actively makes my life better. The cats enjoy it too.

 

After all that productivity, I played Caesar III last night with no guilt at all. I have a different attitude about it this time around. I feel like I can test out city designs. If something doesn't work, I can go back to an early save and try something different. I've played these scenarios before and I have walk-through notes on the main events that will happen. The challenge is resource management.

 

In local news, Dumbledore has been consistent in putting in an hour of yard work a day. He has been raking the thatch out of the front lawn. This is the first time that's been done in seven years, and I doubt the previous owners did much with the lawn. It is never going to look like the chemically maintained carpet of the next-door neighbors. In fact we are looking at making it bee friendly. One of my tasks for this weekend is to buy white clover seed. We already have dandelions and violets. 🌻

 

Elf has moved to a completely nocturnal schedule. When I checked with them a week ago, they said they were keeping busy reading and spending time online with friends around the world. They have been keeping their room clean and doing their laundry promptly, which is a notable improvement. However, I have not noticed much other activity. Yesterday I asked "do you feel like you are doing about a third of the upkeep work around here?" Which anyone can translate to "I think you are slacking off, convince me I'm wrong". Elf did allow as to how they had not done much this week. They promised to do dishes after I got done cooking. That did not happen. :angry:

 

I also asked Elf to take on complete responsibility for cleaning and staining the back deck. I've meant to do this for the last five years and not done it. The deck is not bad because it is a screen porch, but the steps outside are in really tough shape. Elf agreed to take on the project. I told them that meant researching how to do it, telling me what supplies to buy and making it happen. I will help with moving things off the porch. The rest is all theirs. They agreed to do the project. I'm hopeful but not holding my breath. Elf's follow-through has been lousy. Our state is opening up in June but our county has extended safer-at-home until July. That probably means restaurants won't open and Elf won't be able to go back to work for another two months. I'd really like them to put that time to a productive use.

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Love the idea of bee-friendly yard. Where I live "natural" lawns are very common, but I know that's not true everywhere. I wish it were.

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On 5/4/2020 at 6:02 PM, Mistr said:

 

 V7LNul1.jpg?1

 

Those look delicious! 

 

On 5/4/2020 at 6:02 PM, Mistr said:

In a perfect world, I'd like to lose the 10 pounds I've gained over the last 6 months. Realistically, I will concentrate on eating veggies and protein and keeping snacks to a minimum.

 

I can sympathise :P 

 

On 5/4/2020 at 6:02 PM, Mistr said:

Going to bed on time is not exactly a goal so much as a promise I made to Dumbledore. He is trying to go to bed earlier and me being up makes that harder. Why is not clear to me, since he is usually at the opposite end of the house in the evening. In any case, I promised and it helps me get enough sleep. Sleep is good for my outlook and productivity.


My problem with Mr Harriet coming to bed later is that I have trouble falling asleep and I would generally wake up or become more alert/wakeful when he entered the bedroom. That no longer happens since I started wearing earplugs. I also fall asleep quickly now.

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I'm down with the idea of a bee-friendly yard. Down with lawns, up with flowers and gardens!

 

And uh, yeah, glad to see you're flowing with what you gotta flow with.

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My scheme of rewarding chores with playing computer games has been working. I'm getting tasks done and enjoying playing Caesar III.

 

I went shopping last Friday to a store other than the grocery. It was very exciting. And rather disappointing at the same time. Farm & Fleet did not have several of the things I needed and very few people were wearing masks. So on Saturday I went to their competitor, Fleet Farm (I'm not making this up). More people were wearing masks and I got a few things. I also went to a garden store since one of my items was clover seed. Apparently that is not a general sale item anywhere. I got myself two fuchsias as compensation.

 

I repotted the fuschias into my fancy hanging baskets and repotted tomato seedlings into bigger pots, then brought everything inside because our weather has been lousy. Things are warming up now and they all look fine. Dumbledore has been digging up the scraggly corner of the yard next to the driveway. My next task is to transplant daylilies from places they are not supposed to be into that area. I also did 20 minutes of weeding after work on Monday. I did it in the order of most annoying first. That worked well. I plan to keep doing little bits so I don't freak out about how much needs to get done.

 

Work is going better. Our new person is done with training which lightens the load for the team. I'm even getting project work done on days that I get enough sleep.

 

My cunning plan was to do both exercise and zen before work. Apparently that is only feasible a couple times a week. One thing is fine, two is pushing it. This morning I had energy to do kettlebells. I knew I wouldn't have time for zen, which is fine because this evening is open. Tomorrow I need to do both yoga and zen in the morning so I can spend time with Dumbledore after work.

 

I really miss throwing my friends around and getting thrown in aikido. It is a way to connect with people without having to talk to them. All this listening and being supportive is starting to get to me. I think I've been avoiding the online aikido sessions because they don't scratch that itch. Right now I don't want to learn more aikido, I just want to do it. I'm going to make time for the class this Saturday just to see how people are doing.

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3 hours ago, Mistr said:

I really miss throwing my friends around and getting thrown in aikido. It is a way to connect with people without having to talk to them. 

 

I laughed at the first sentence but I totally agree with you. I hate parties because I hate small talk, which is why I don't make friends easily. But I liked my taekwondo classes because when you're getting to know someone while doing an activity together, it really takes the pressure off because the conversation doesn't have to do all the work. I like the idea of connecting without talking.

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On ‎5‎/‎13‎/‎2020 at 4:10 PM, Mistr said:

I really miss throwing my friends around and getting thrown in aikido. It is a way to connect with people without having to talk to them. All this listening and being supportive is starting to get to me. I think I've been avoiding the online aikido sessions because they don't scratch that itch. Right now I don't want to learn more aikido, I just want to do it. I'm going to make time for the class this Saturday just to see how people are doing.

 

I know what you mean FWIW. Frankly I'm feeling kind of touch-starved in general anyway and grappling was a way to get that need met. It's both a social thing and a gaming thing and a physical contact thing and I imagine it's the same for your lot in many ways too.

 

Not that I mean to push for a rush to reopen, but it is something to look forward to.

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On 5/13/2020 at 4:10 PM, Mistr said:

 

I really miss throwing my friends around and getting thrown in aikido. It is a way to connect with people without having to talk to them. All this listening and being supportive is starting to get to me. I think I've been avoiding the online aikido sessions because they don't scratch that itch. Right now I don't want to learn more aikido, I just want to do it. I'm going to make time for the class this Saturday just to see how people are doing.

 

17 hours ago, Kishi said:

 

I know what you mean FWIW. Frankly I'm feeling kind of touch-starved in general anyway and grappling was a way to get that need met. It's both a social thing and a gaming thing and a physical contact thing and I imagine it's the same for your lot in many ways too.

 

Not that I mean to push for a rush to reopen, but it is something to look forward to.

I was talking to another human that does martial arts, and they expressed similar sentiments.  All of the socialing they did was through their martial art, and I absolutely understand the "could we please not talk and just do something."  There is a lot of Zoom fatigue I hear is going around.  It is not the same, but I also miss the gym and being able to work out with friends and other people around. It is hard to not interact.

 

It is also very hard to be alone.  Even though I am going to the hospital and baseline stress is Defcon 1, I am still able to have a teaparty at work with my coworkers, and we can still talk and decompress about our days in person.  I can't imagine what it has to be like being at home alone for two months or longer without an end in sight.  That is kind of the definition of torture?  

In some places it is still safe to go outside.  

Also, I am here to validate the feelings of touch starvation, and say that they are real.  Also that many therapists are stating that the human brain is not necessarily designed for this level of stress, and so atypical responses are to be expected.  

 

I am glad the planting is going well!! It is so nice to hear about the flowers, and that your work-reward system is working out! 

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11 minutes ago, Treva said:

Also, I am here to validate the feelings of touch starvation, and say that they are real.  Also that many therapists are stating that the human brain is not necessarily designed for this level of stress, and so atypical responses are to be expected.  

 

The number of pet adoptions in the US has increased by nearly 70% since the quarantining started. Considering a lot of states don't permit visits to animal shelters, that's kind of impressive, and it also makes perfect sense.

 

I've been urging friends who live alone to at least consider a cat. They don't need to go out, and they freely give affectionate touch to the humans they have bonded with. It's not the same as a hug, but it's definitely better than nothing.

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1 hour ago, Treva said:

It is also very hard to be alone.  Even though I am going to the hospital and baseline stress is Defcon 1, I am still able to have a teaparty at work with my coworkers, and we can still talk and decompress about our days in person.  I can't imagine what it has to be like being at home alone for two months or longer without an end in sight.

1 hour ago, Scalyfreak said:

I've been urging friends who live alone to at least consider a cat. They don't need to go out, and they freely give affectionate touch to the humans they have bonded with. It's not the same as a hug, but it's definitely better than nothing.

 

Yes, I worry about my friends who live all by themselves.

 

I am tremendously grateful that I live with two humans and two cats who I like. Amber is obnoxious some of the time, but she is Dumbledore's cat and we mostly get along.

 

Some news on the household front: Hermes is officially moving out. He has been sheltering in place with one of his partners for months, so in most ways it feels like he is gone. His stuff is going to start leaving in June, when he is renting a storage locker. I've missed having him as part of our household, but I'll be glad to have the space in the garage back. He wants to get his own place with his partner. I get that. I'm not so convinced that living with her in her mother's apartment is the best way to achieve that goal, but that is his choice.

 

1 hour ago, Treva said:

I was talking to another human that does martial arts, and they expressed similar sentiments.  All of the socialing they did was through their martial art, and I absolutely understand the "could we please not talk and just do something."  There is a lot of Zoom fatigue I hear is going around.  It is not the same, but I also miss the gym and being able to work out with friends and other people around. It is hard to not interact.

 

1 hour ago, Treva said:

Also, I am here to validate the feelings of touch starvation, and say that they are real.  Also that many therapists are stating that the human brain is not necessarily designed for this level of stress, and so atypical responses are to be expected.  

 

Yes, there is both the social part of it and the human contact part. Aikido saved me from touch starvation while Dumbledore and I did our graduate work in different states. There is a level of stress relief from doing active physical things with other people that I miss. I'm hoping our dojo opens up sometime this summer. If not, I am going to ask my weapons partner if he is willing to do kata once a week. That is low contact, although it comes closer than six feet.

 

My work announced that they are planning on keeping the remote people at home until the end of August. That is largely to protect the manufacturing team from outside contact. The numbers haven't been awful in this area, although they are trending up again. Things are likely to get worse as the Republicans in the state legislature push for reopening. Our local area has extended safer-at-home until July.

 

I'm more worried about Elf than me or Dumbledore. Elf misses their job and is young and healthy. They don't have anyone for physical contact other than occasional hugs from us. They do snuggle the cats a bit but that has to be limited because they are allergic to them.

 

What this means for me is that I need to improve my game on eating healthy. I already am doing as much exercise and meditation as I can make myself do. Pushing that is not going to make it better. Not buying commercial cookies and chocolate is a good start. I'm almost through all the candy I bought in the after-Easter clearance. Elf gave me a bag of 70% chocolate Lindt balls for Mother's day (they gave Dumbledore Hershey's with almonds). I can stretch those out for weeks. I've talked to Elf and Dumbledore about coming up with more ideas. We need to start making that happen on a regular basis.

 

 

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Yeah, I'm not exactly super social, but this all makes me miss living with people and pets occasionally. Aikido was definitely a good baseline of physical contact, and I miss that. (But also just throwing people. I miss that lots.)

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7 hours ago, Mistr said:

My work announced that they are planning on keeping the remote people at home until the end of August. That is largely to protect the manufacturing team from outside contact. The numbers haven't been awful in this area, although they are trending up again. Things are likely to get worse as the Republicans in the state legislature push for reopening. Our local area has extended safer-at-home until July.

 

Kudos to your work for planning ahead and protecting you!

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On 5/15/2020 at 12:31 PM, Mistr said:

I'm hoping our dojo opens up sometime this summer. If not, I am going to ask my weapons partner if he is willing to do kata once a week. That is low contact, although it comes closer than six feet.

 

I think that's a really smart idea, also because it's only one person.

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6 hours ago, Scalyfreak said:

Hey. How's Elf doing?

 

Pretty good in some respects. Details below the cut

Spoiler

Starting on the positive side, I talked to Elf about taking on staining our deck as a project. They have actually been working consistently on it. They finished the tedious part of staining all the bars of the railings. Over the last few days they have been working on cleaning the stairs with bleach to get rid of all the algae and mildew. It is looking vastly better already.

 

I made unhappy noises about the lack of cooking earlier this week. Yesterday Elf cooked trout, roast potatos and broccoli + cauliflower for us for dinner. They washed the dishes and went outside to work on the deck while Dumbledore and I ate. They said it was too close to breakfast to be hungry again. 

 

On the concerning side, Elf is sleeping until 4 or 5pm every day. Today they did not wake up until after 6pm. They say they are going to bed around 3am. If that is true, they are sleeping 12-15 hours a day.

 

They just changed meds about a week ago. Before that they were having difficulty sleeping and having lots of nightmares. The new meds are working on that front. Elf says they are getting the best sleep they've had in months. I expect someone who has been sleep deprived to sleep in late for several days. I just thought that would be getting better by now.

 

Elf's shifted schedule means that they don't interact much with me. Dumbledore frequently checks in with Elf before he goes to bed. I see Elf first thing in their day, when they are not really ready to interact with humans yet. I make a point to check in beyond the mundane stuff at least once a week and schedule time together about every other week. Elf says that they are happily occupied with reading, writing, watching shows they missed as a kid, talking with friends and doing social media for the local community radio station. They miss their job and have no interest in taking a third shift job at my company. I think all of that is true as far as it goes, and there is more going on that they don't want to tell me.

 

I know for a fact that Elf is drinking a lot. I don't know if they are drinking so much that it is a problem or not. At this point it is not an active problem for me, I am just worried. Based on my experience with other family members, I believe that bugging someone to stop drinking when they are not ready is counterproductive. Elf is no longer hanging out with friends who party and do hard drugs. I'm glad that they are now only using legal substances. I'd feel better if they told me about the progress they are making on reaching their goals. I suspect they are just hiding in their room and waiting for this crisis to pass.

 

Overall I think things are better but I'm still worried.

 

I have been having a mixed week. I've made progress at work and feel good about that. I've done some zen and some yoga. My consistency is still poor. I've done quite a few chores and projects. The list of yard and garden projects that needs doing is waaaaay too long. Dumbledore is obsessed with pulling dandelions in the yard. I couldn't care less about dandelions in the yard, those are good for bees. I told him to attack the ones in the landscaping. He ignored that completely.

 

We had a frank and forthright exchange of views about sharing responsibility on meal planning and cooking. I think he understands where I'm coming from. It is too soon to know if any behavior is going to change.

 

I'm feeling down at the moment because in the alternate timeline, friends from out of town would be visiting this weekend. Reaching out by Skype is just not the same. I suppose I should do that, but it feels like work. It is my own fault I feel isolated when I'm not reaching out to people. I have not come to terms with that yet.

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20 minutes ago, Mistr said:

Pretty good in some respects. Details below the cut

 

 

 

Spoiler

 

You wouldn't be a parent if you weren't worried. I don't really feel I'm qualified to comment on any details beyond the minor observation that if someone is dealing with a mental health situation, as the nightmares indicate, there might not be any energy left over for doing anything beyond avoiding direct human contact and doing nothing but what they want, without any outside demands adding to the emotional load.

 

One of the reasons I'm not feeling qualified to give advice is I'm not a parent myself, but a single father at work commented recently, in a discussion about adjusting to living with a pandemic, that he made a point of reminding himself every day that his son is struggling with even bigger challenges than he is. At least the father can continue to work every day, and interact with his co-workers, while the son's school was not successful with online classes, and his soccer team was no longer holding practices. 

 

Maybe Elf is just feeling lost, and overwhelmed about everything that changed  suddenly and unexpectedly, and is struggling to handle it? They know you care and that you're there for them, and that in itself is helpful. When they're ready to talk to you, they will. Staying focused on the deck is a good sign. Someone who was entirely wrapped up in their own problems, would not continue to work on that project.

 

 

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Spoiler

It's great that the medication is helping with the nightmares. 

I don't know if it's relevant, but when my depression was at its worst I slept A LOT. My sleep was extremely low quality due to anxiety, rumination, alcohol, lack of exercise, and the antidepressants themselves. and I didn't even realise what sleep was supposed to be like until I experienced proper sleep many years later. I don't know exactly what Elf is dealing with, but I hope they see some relief soon. 

 

Mmm-hmm. Skyping is not really the same as seeing people in person. It IS more work. Somehow I never know what to say. It's easier in person, especially if you process visual information more easily than auditory information. 

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On 5/22/2020 at 7:45 PM, Mistr said:

Reaching out by Skype is just not the same. I suppose I should do that, but it feels like work. It is my own fault I feel isolated when I'm not reaching out to people. I have not come to terms with that yet.

 

I don't think it's your fault you feel isolated. Video meetups work great for some people, but they aren't a magic solution, and it's not a shortcoming to not be loving the social distancing.

 

Elf



I don't have any useful advice. It's good that Elf is at least doing to staining and meeting up with you every couple of weeks. The radio social media is a good thing too.

 

 

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Yeesh, it's been a week and it's only Thursday.

 

I had a good three-day weekend. The weather report predicted rain on Monday so I worked like a fiend on Sunday to get the front garden bed done. It is a curved section about 10 x 10 ft between our driveway and the sidewalk. I finished digging up the weeds that were there, turned over the soil again to break up clods, raked it, then transplanted daylilies. The daylilies were growing in other garden beds in places I didn't want them. That was a lot of physical labor. Turns out that squats are a good exercise to prepare for digging with a garden fork. There were about 4 dozen daylilies when I was done. That's counting the big clumps that wouldn't pull apart as single plants. There was some room left on the edges of the new bed, so I planted the snapdragons and moss roses there. I got those plants on a whim when I was shopping a couple weeks ago. I also planted more moss rose seed to fill in the bare spots. The front corner now looks like a garden instead of a neglected empty lot. I also mowed the front yard because all our neighbors mowed. Dumbledore did the side yard. Elf is currently off mowing duty so they can concentrate on the deck staining project.

 

After all that effort on Sunday, the weather was nice on Monday. I gave myself permission to really truly take a day off. That made me feel better. I did get some things done in spite of that. Dumbledore helped me get my summer clothes down from the attic and I swapped them for my winter clothes. This is the latest I can remember ever doing the summer/winter swap. This spring has been cool up until Memorial Day weekend. I haven't missed having short sleeve tops other than exercise T-shirts.

 

Dumbledore grilled steaks and I made the rest of dinner, plus did dishes. Elf says it is now their turn to do dishes. Hopefully that will happen soon. <crosses fingers>

 

For fun things, I finished spinning the dyed Bombyx silk singles and played Caesar III. The silk is about the thickness of sewing thread. I will make it into a three-ply yarn so I can use it for lace. I started plying today. That is going to be more challenging than usual. I already have the next 1oz bag of dyed silk from the dyeing workshop ready to spin. I'm glad to be making progress on working through my stash.

 

Work has been busy again. We have a new person starting on Monday. I redid our training plan to include a mix of on-site and remote trainings. We'll see how it goes. Our last trainee was an internal candidate with years of experience at the company. I'm concerned about bringing in someone brand new when we can't have him sit and observe the senior people do their jobs. He's a smart guy, I'm sure we'll figure it out.

 

I'm way behind on everyone's threads here. I hope you are all doing okay. Today is rainy again so I can do computer stuff instead of more gardening this evening. I finished one of the back yard beds yesterday and got another one started. Another hour or so and I'll be caught up.

 

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5 hours ago, Mistr said:

For fun things, I finished spinning the dyed Bombyx silk singles and played Caesar III. The silk is about the thickness of sewing thread. I will make it into a three-ply yarn so I can use it for lace.

 

Oh, wow. Mad skills!

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On 5/28/2020 at 2:08 PM, Mistr said:

Work has been busy again. We have a new person starting on Monday. I redid our training plan to include a mix of on-site and remote trainings. We'll see how it goes. Our last trainee was an internal candidate with years of experience at the company. I'm concerned about bringing in someone brand new when we can't have him sit and observe the senior people do their jobs. He's a smart guy, I'm sure we'll figure it out.

 

We had to onboard a new-to-the-company person immediately after we started working from home. He had prior experience in similar jobs, but that was it.

 

We assigned him a buddy/mentor who was already doing the job the new person was hired for. They spent a couple of hours every day in Zoom, with the mentor working and screensharing, and talking through everything he was doing, so the new guy could get early exposure to the job itself and see the work happen. The mentor was also present for a lot of the training to give input, but his primary role when he was present in training was to provide examples of how the theory we had just gone over was practically applied on the job. 

 

We also had a short half hour check-in right before lunch (we = the trainers, the new guy, and new guy's entire team including manager) where the team manager would give updates on what's going on, we gave updates on the training and how it was going. We also made a point of spending time at the beginning or end of training sessions and meetings to just socialize and get to know each other. One of my biggest concerns with going through new hire training completely remotely from home, was how to make the new guy feel welcome and like he really is a part of a close-knit team, and those purely social conversations were an important part of that.

 

The job sharing over Zoom was huge though. When the new guy was asked to give feedback on the training, he was very clear that was the part that really helped him understand all the things we were trying to teach him.

 

Our biggest takeaway as a training team? Remotely onboarding a new hire is nowhere near as complicated as it sounds. :) 

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