A Layered City

With one week of work officially done and out of the way, I am definitely getting into the groove of working full time.  It is definitely a big change from the academic life where you you not always at working and if you are, you have much more flexibility with what you are doing and when you want to do it.  However, when it comes to working a full time job, especially for a smaller start up, you have to be much more disciplined when it comes to getting work done.

Given the amount of work that needs to be done to keep a start up in the financial field going, one thing that I have had to learn fast is that working normal hours or the standard amount of hours has to go out the window.  Given the amount of tasks that need to get done to make sure that the company can operate, especially when every penny counts, working longer hours in order to get more work done is very much necessary to ensure things run smoothly.  While this does mean that more time is spent at the office, you also feel like you get a lot more done within the day and don’t have to feel like you are putting things off till later. It also means you can put more quality into your work.  

These longer hours combined with the energy of a startup have really helped me with my time management and prioritization.  Having to juggle multiple tasks, all of which are important to my department and the firm as a whole, really helps with prioritizing tasks as you have to think which ones are the most detrimental and have the greatest impact on the firm as a whole.  This is especially important when your work directly affects other departments and their ability to get their own work done. This also helps me with my time management skills as it suddenly becomes more important than ever that tasks get done in a timely fashion.  And even if the entire task doesn’t get done, ask ast having certain vital portions of it done can go a long way at keeping other people on track for their own deadlines.

One thing that can become really hard though at my internship is trying to overcome the learning curve for the law.  Given that I have had very minimal US legal experience, let alone experience with German or European Union regulation, there is a lot of quick reading and researching that I have to do in order to understand how to answer legal or regulatory questions that my co workers might have.  However I have been lucky to have my first three tasks be to read over certain European Union and German financial and business laws and regulations and to create reports about my findings. This has forced me to find resources and repositories that not only have the correct laws and regulations, but also finding different journals and forums that discuss these laws and issues to help provide color and opinions of other professionals and decision makers in that particular field.  This will prove to be a major help when it comes to time management in the future as I will then already have the proper resources at my disposal and not have to search for them, allowing me to get tasks done sooner.

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However, I have also done some fun things to further explore the city during my free time.  Over the recent weekend, I was able to attend the flea market and karaoke at the Mauerpark on Sunday.  This is a giant flea market that brings in people from all over the greater Berlin region where people can shop at a giant flea market, eat at local vendors who set up shop and sell food from all over the world, as well as attend the many live musical performances that happen in the periphery of the park.  These performances range from classic bands, to drum lines, to the giant karaoke stage where people go up and sing in front of hundreds of people at a time. This helps to highlight one of the really unique aspects of the city of Berlin. Historically, Berlin has always been a very accepting city, supporting people from all walks of life.  And this is on display here, people from all different backgrounds and situations getting together to have fun and enjoy eachothers company without any sort of judgement or ill will.