At GemCap we’re passionate about finding and nurturing new talent, and we have a number of excellent graduates who make up our team. Here our recent graduate recruit Ilona Balaban shares her perspective on starting her working life during a pandemic, and her first five months at GemCap.
“After what seemed like 56 million years in school and university, my time had finally come to enter the big, bad working world. Except the big, bad working world was now a pandemic world, and no number of years in school and university could have prepared me for this. However, I was ready and beyond excited to join Gemini Capital in December 2020.
A steep learning curve, but it has been one of the most rewarding journeys I have ever been on. Working alongside a highly skilled team has encouraged me to strive and excel in a broad range of areas. I was fortunate to spend December in the office with the team, which helped build relationships with everyone as a new starter. Things got a bit more challenging when lockdown restrictions increased and working from home became my reality. I was back to my desk and chair in my bedroom and so began the never ending task of ensuring my background was tidy before every Zoom and Microsoft Teams call!
I had known I wanted to work in Finance since my second year in undergrad, after completing a 3-month internship at State Street. This was reinforced when I completed my dissertation on white-collar crime in Ireland. Joining GemCap has offered me the perfect foundation to build my knowledge on the fascinating world of financial services. My day to day activities grant me access and exposure to a wide variety of subjects, something I feel is extremely important for someone who is still carving out their career path. The most exciting aspect of my position in GemCap is that I have the opportunity to learn from everyone in the company, including senior management. What’s more exciting is that the pandemic has not affected this at all; I am learning every day!
I will always miss the hustle and bustle of an office environment but working from home does have some perks too. I am now inadvertently part of the 6 o’clock “walk in the park after work” group. I know this because I recognise the faces of people who walk past me each evening and we do the smile and nod at each other now. My cooking skills have also received more attention, something I think my Mam is secretly delighted with, especially when I’m on dinner duty!
Starting a new job and joining a new company during lockdown was never going to be easy, for me or anyone else. There has been a shift in dynamics due to current circumstances and the way we work has inevitably changed. What encouraged me was altering my mindset and directing my focus to the resources and opportunities in front of me, instead of concentrating on events beyond my control. I am a glass half full kind of person!
GemCap has been my blessing of 2020. I am surrounded by a wonderful team of supportive and encouraging colleagues that work together towards Gem Cap’s core values. A bit philosophical but everything does happen for a reason. For me, joining this company could not have happened at a better time and it is indescribably exciting to be a part of GemCap’s growth and development. I knew the company was going to thrive the moment I entered the door. And as someone who is just starting out, I am really enjoying being part of the process and genuinely feeling like I genuinely make a difference.
So to anyone who is just starting out too, the world is your oyster and life is what you make it. Always has been and always will be.
Thanks to Ilona for sharing her thoughts on working at GemCap and the unique experience of starting a new job during a pandemic. You can learn about the rest of the GemCap team on our Meet the Team page.