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G’day from down under—Journey through my first month at Traction on Demand

June 08, 2021By
Traction on Demand office in Sydney, Australia

Sneak peek at onboarding and some key takeaways from my first month

It’s rare to discover more about yourself and what you want to achieve both personally and professionally in the first month of joining a company. Moving into a new role is often daunting, especially when everything is virtual and thousands of kilometres from our North American head office, but I genuinely feel I’m being set up for success.

To set the scene, I joined Traction on Demand (ToD) as a Project Manager in Sydney, Australia as part of the Sunshine Squad (ToD has “squads” which are essentially teams within the whole company). While for work it’s important to be professional and organized, I also try to see life through the lens of “life’s too short to take things too seriously” (one of ToD’s values is to seek smiles :D).

Expectations versus reality

I had the expectation the move from start-ups to an organization with multiple squads and multi-faceted shared services teams would be both confronting and exciting. To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect in regards to culture and the way of working as the team in Australia. The team is small (yet still very mighty), but the majority of Tractionites are based in North America. Coming from a start-up I know everyone’s time is super limited and while documentation was helpful, experience and doing the task was more valuable.

Onboarding required a lot of trust and proactiveness to be able to power through the self-learning modules and carefully curated onboarding sessions, which included quizzes and exercises to work through. With the combination of self-learning and work from home, it may feel unsettling for a self-proclaimed extrovert. Yet, I didn’t feel alone or feel like I was burdening my new team with my questions. We had virtual times together to talk shop but could also talk about anything that came to mind—the random stuff.  Modules and onboarding sessions with the greater North American team were an extension of the Sunshine Squad, and their approachability and confidence made me feel supported since there was always a group of people there to assist you.

The surprise care pack from Traction on Demand was also a lovely touch!

I was grateful to meet my team in person before my first day at Traction on Demand, and very naturally the topic around values was discussed. It was clear, the company values were not just in the back of everyone’s mind, but at the forefront when making decisions.

Opening my mind to new journeys

As part of the onboarding sessions, there’s a collaborative session with other new Tractionites and it was evident values are what tipped the scale for the majority of newcomers to join. Values aren't just lip service but engrained ideas and a mindset here. This was apparent through a particular team huddle with the Sunshine Squad where the topic of how to help other Australians was discussed.

When asked what I felt passionate about within the community I was totally out of my comfort zone and blurted out the first thing that came to mind…dogs. I'm not saying dogs and animals aren’t important (I have an infinite love for our four-legged family members), but it made me stop and think about world injustices and inequities. After some thought, I realized I’ve never really given it much thought and have never felt I had the power to change something further than where my eyes could see. So I’ve been comforted in the fact that my new company is what opened my eyes to these concepts. I do believe the cultural landscape between Australia and North America is quite different (from personal experience), for example as an Asian Immigrant, I haven’t had to discuss difficult topics like how to combat Anti-Asian hate at work, but that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing to change.

It made me think:

  • How many companies can open your eyes to the difference between equality and equity?
  • How many onboarding sessions would make you think about how you can benefit the world in some way beyond those directly around you and give you additional volunteer days to elicit the opportunity to do good and give good?

Additionally, the opportunity to continue working with nonprofits was a key reason I joined Traction on Demand. But beyond this, what surprised me in my first month was being challenged in a way that made me think of how I can further my career, but also, how I can contribute something to the team, to the company, and to the greater community.

The Goldilocks Theory

A lot of companies talk about work-life balance now, especially with more companies swapping in-office desks for home offices. Aristotle explored the idea of The Goldilocks Theory which theorizes happiness and in relation to it, the middle of two extremes is what is truly desirable. Taking us back to our childhood and the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, we don’t want porridge (or oats if you’re in Australia) to be too hot or too cold. Admittedly, throughout 2020 especially, I didn’t prioritize or question my sentiment and wellness. Now, the idea of wellness and work-life balance is one of my key metrics to reach my version of the Goldilocks Theory and coincidently aligns with Traction on Demand.

A brighter path to meaningful work and life

At one point of discussion with the Sunshine Squad about our sentiments (the idea of sentiments is still very new to me!), where the value of ‘doing the right thing’ was explored and it was discussed as a three-pronged approach. Doing the right thing for the client, doing the right thing for the company and doing right for yourself. There is a limit to saying ‘yes’ to scope, there is a limit on your time spent, and there is a limit for your headspace. Having healthy hearts and healthy minds is the key to success.

My adventure at Traction on Demand has only just begun and every day I continue to feel more confident and empowered to be able to speak my mind, foster strong relationships, and progress my career path. While projects can be rollercoasters and I’m sure I will have a lot of ups and downs, I know collectively, my team is setting each other up for success. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for the Sunshine Squad, the Australian Traction on Demand community supported by our global Traction on Demand community.

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