Week notes 5–9th June — A six-month review

Holly Davis
5 min readJun 11, 2023
Some of the brilliant delivery team taken at a team social last week 🤩

This week marked six months at Torchbox. The six months before that I spent enjoying the first extended break since I started my career.

Leaving my last company was bittersweet, post-merger I struggled to find my feet and missed the old Deeson ways of doing things so I decided it was the right time to move on. There were so many near opportunities that didn’t quite work out during my job search but now I look back and I can honestly say I ended up with the right role.

It hasn’t been without its bumps along the way though, at times I questioned if I’d taken the right role or was in the right place. I suspect this is more normal than not but most people maybe don’t talk about it quite so openly. Moving from a more senior role in a much smaller agency to more of a split practitioner/team lead type role meant at the time I felt like I was on a backward learning curve and the skills needed were not quite the same as the ones I’d spent time unlearning over the last few years.

Having a slightly more hand’s on role though has helped me build relationships with the delivery team, provide more natural opportunities to share knowledge and perspectives, and learn more about the processes and ways of working.

I’m going to stray from my normal week notes slightly and share some learnings from my first 6 months which may help other people who are also in a new role.

  • When you first join, look at other people’s calendars. See what other people are working on and ask to join some of the meetings that might be helpful to your own onboarding
  • Be cautious of getting too involved in extra curriculum activities too early on. You’ll need that time and energy for the new role, at least initially
  • Say yes to things that scare you. In the first few months, I felt like I was constantly out of my comfort zone — jump in with both feet
  • It takes time, everyone kept saying it would take at least 6 months for me to feel settled. Turns out like most things in life, love grows
  • Know your timing might be different from others. I’ve been envious to see other people join other companies at around the same time and seem to immediately feel great — that’s okay, you’re not them
  • Be aware of a bias towards what feels familiar — it doesn’t mean it’s better. Silence that voice, it can mislead you and make you focus on the wrong things
  • Protect your time and boundaries
  • Be proactive about speaking to people outside your team — you can learn a lot from other disciplines
  • Request and send feedback early. Refer back to things that scare you, I was wary of asking for feedback early on, thinking people don’t know me well enough or I haven’t demonstrated my value yet — then it felt like a big deal when I did ask — find miro opportunities e.g. “how did I facilitate that ceremony” or “how are you finding my working style?”
  • Document your learnings and your wins. My week notes have been great weekly reflections but there are lots of ways to do this and it helps you look at your onboarding in a more balanced way
  • Connect with other new joiners within and outside the company— moving jobs is a big thing and it’s good to speak to others going through the same thing. Imposter syndrome can be particularly difficult and it can feel lonely and isolating at times, speaking to someone about your thoughts can help you put things into perspective
  • Connect with others in the company who might have similar mandates to your own — thank you Annie (Head of UX Research) and Chris Harris (QA Lead)
  • Set review points — it’s easy after a bad day to catastrophise. After giving myself more long-term goals, I started to no longer notice the mini setbacks and get excited about what I’m here to do
  • Remind yourself your team doesn’t need someone with the same skills as them — this is probably my biggest learning, so many times I questioned if I could be authentic and add value in my role because I didn’t have the same skills or background as my team. Then someone said but they’ve already got those skills, they need something different
  • Craft the role to your strengths (see above)
  • See resistance as an opportunity to engage, learn and build trusted relationships. This is particularly pertinent if you’re in a ‘change maker’ role
  • Don’t assume there’s a typical way of doing things- try and gain multiple perspectives and work in the open. Asking lots of questions in our Slack channel helped bring different approaches to the foreground
  • Be honest with how you feel — to yourself and those trusted around you
  • Book a holiday — it helps give you something to aim for, a moment to reflect, and enjoy some downtime, a new role can be very tiring
  • Remind yourself of why you left your last company. It’s useful to remind yourself why you’re here, and your motivations for leaving e.g. I left because I wanted to be more challenged and had hit a ceiling, I remind myself on the days when I’m finding it challenging that this is what I wanted!
  • Communicate when you feel uncomfortable about something or feel misunderstood — although it feels exposing, this helps build rapport with your manager and helps them understand how to get the best out of you
  • Don’t take it too seriously- at the end of the day, it’s still just a job…

I hope some of these tips are helpful. I’m definitely feeling optimistic about the future and feel proud to be a Torchboxer.

I’m considering changing the cadence of my updates from weekly to monthly now, in the hope it’ll give me more time to write some blog post content instead 👀