Another week has gone by, but every day still feels as engaging as the last. Although more of the streets are starting to become familiar and walking into the office doesn’t feel quite as daunting as the first morning, the feelings of excitement and adventure haven’t quite receded yet. Last week proved to be another unique and formative experience in it of itself; starting my internship. In my previous blog post I had just finished my first day on the job but I hadn’t quite realize yet what it felt like to really start my internship. Not only was it unique in being another week in Berlin, but it dawned on me that part of what felt so new and different about working was that this was also my first actual experience working a 9-5 job in an office.
Walking through the doors for the first time last week brought on slew of feelings from excitement, nervousness and curiosity. I had enjoyed the first week so much, exploring the city, making friends and orienting myself in Berlin, but now would be when the “real” part of the international experience. It has been both rewarding and challenging to work in office that relies almost exclusively on English (except when I ask for clarification). After the initial shock of arriving at the office and meeting many new people, I have finally started to set into a routine.
Our office has a pretty traditional, albeit comparatively relaxed culture when compared to some of the experiences I have heard from other students on the program. We do not have a dress code (which is nice but I don’t mind dressing up a little), our lunch breaks are expected to take no longer than 45 minutes, and when given an assignment it is expected that to be finished in a reasonable amount of time with clear communication on progress. It is this emphasis on clarity and communication from my supervisors and co-workers that I have come truly appreciate. The expectations are clear, if I am expected to come to work a little earlier or stay a little later it communicated clearly the day before and given with direct reasoning for the expectation. This aspect of working at Residea has made things honestly pretty easy in being able to manage my time and my tasks.
Although sometimes sitting at a computer working on excel spreadsheets tempts one to daydream about exploring some new market or alternate route to one of Berlin’s many parks, the projects have been ultimately more engaging in the first week than I was honestly expecting from the beginning. As I have stated above, my supervisor is clear in what he wants me to do (both long-term by the end of the week and shorter-term tasks given to help break up the monotony of certain projects). Because of this, my days are pretty easy to plan: (generally) I get to work at 8:30am and after saying my hello’s to the office I start up my computer and get right to working on my longer-term project, after about an hour of chugging away, a friendly conversation tends to grab the attention of the others in the sales department. This little break in the action allows my supervisor to make sure we’re all awake and then usually segues into directions for any more immediate tasks.
These shorter tasks (generating reports on salesforce, transferring photos ,etc.) tend to get wrapped up by lunchtime or a little after and the rest of the day is given to working on the longer projects, getting to know my coworkers more, and discussing what might be most helpful for me to work on and learn. Overall, my time at the office is structured, designed to be easy for me to stay on schedule, and of course very clear and productive. At around 5:15 I get the ok to leave the office for the day (barring any urgent project that needs done by the end of the day) and the next handful of hours are my challenge to fit into my day both what I want to do and need to do.
With this fairly consistent expectation for time spent at the office, I have been able to make what I feel is a good schedule that fits the way I like. To satisfy my need for adventure I like utilizes multiple of the many options I have for taking public transit back to our hotel. After this I have time to call airlines or banks in order to handle logistical work of getting cash or planing weekend trips. By the times the phone is hung up I make my way to a local gym and on the way back I grab some dinner either from the grocery store or a local street vendor. Any extra time is given to calling friends and family (or doing laundry), otherwise I’m in bed ready to pass out from a packed day or work, fun and (usually) a little exploring. The days really are packed but with the culture of my office it is so nice to be able to make a daily schedule that works, is enjoyable and best of all is consistent. I am loving my time so far, the work, the city and the challenges and I can’t wait to keep everyone posted on what comes next!