Work hard, play hard

Monday May 20 was my first official day of work at my company evenson GmbH. Evenson is a consulting company driven by ideas and focused on results. They deem themselves consultants on the human side of progress, consisting of a diverse team of economists, political scientists, communication experts – and overall, experienced project managers. Evenson advises on digitalization, sustainability, and urbanization – and how these forces create opportunities and progress. The approach encompasses bringing ideas and people together to make great strides and advancements in humanity. Because sustainability also drives much of the  public discourse, customer behavior, and regulation in which this company is invested. Evenson supports their clients in navigating this transition and interacting successfully with stakeholders. Because today’s cities carry more political heft and economic clout than ever, Evenson helps understand the impact of urbanization and digitizations, and works with cities to become greener, smarter and more livable. They believe in progress – the ideas, innovations, and initiatives which spur prosperity and social development. It is truly inspiring to be surrounded by such a team of devoted change-oriented thinkers at heart.

Nevertheless, my first day came with a fair amount of ambivalence as well. I got to my internship, nervous about the uncertainty of what I was entering into. As a rather introverted soul, especially at first glance, throwing myself into such situations are socially and emotionally tasking. But also educational in the best of ways; I firmly believe that awareness and exposure are the key components of growth, and that throwing oneself into uncomfortable situations leads to invaluable self maturation. I was also pleasantly surprised to learn my internship had more roots in policy than initially expected. Right now, my company is planning for an IAA Conference which takes place in September in Frankfurt. Basically, it is an automobile conference hosted by the VDA, or German Automotive Association, which is part exhibition and part conference on New Mobility World. This is where my company comes into play. They plan and run the conference of keynote speakers and panelists who speak to the future of mobility in light of urbanization, sustainability, and digitalization. Top level speakers such as CEOs and other officers from Facebook, Google, and IBM will be speaking there as well as the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel herself. Learning this made me feel really awesome to be apart of this important project.

Time management was certainly something to learn and get a grasp of throughout the week. I’ve held several part-time internships in the past, but this is my first real full-time experience. And the fact that it’s abroad in a foreign place makes it a new experience on another level. Having worked 9am to 6pm everyday now for a week, I have gleaned that full-time time management is a work in progress. The balance between work hard and play hard, especially when abroad, must be accounted for. Enjoying the time away from work and learning to rest appropriately is critical.

Most days after getting home from work, several of us would grab dinner or drinks and share about our unique experiences from the first week. On Thursday we were even able to catch a gorgeous golden hour sunset from the top of the TV tower in Alexanderplatz.

On Friday, I had the unique opportunity to join two coworkers at the Green Leaders Conference: Greentech Festival. I got to hear fascinating talks and panels on the future of sustainability, with specific mentions to the mobility sector. I saw notorious speakers such as the Prince of Norway and Nico Rosberg. And I got to walk through a grand exhibition where companies showed off the future of sustainability in mobility and other industries.

On Saturday, we all woke up fairly leisurely, exhausted from a long week’s work. In the afternoon, some of us headed over to Potsdam. We made our way to the Sanssouci Palace, and I was awestruck by the serenity and beauty of the place. We spent nearly two hours there and didn’t make in a dent in the grounds covered. I walked around mostly by myself while there, reflecting on my gratitude for this incredible opportunity. The grounds were beautifully kept and for some reason that place really resonated with me, and I hope to return before the end of the program.

On Sunday we enjoyed another restful, leisurely day exploring the Berlin Cathedral in the afternoon and enjoying delicious Italian food for dinner. It is truly incredible to me how short a time we have been here, and how much it simultaneously feels like I’ve been living here for weeks and weeks. It’s already beginning to feel like a home. And while the balance of work and play is still a continuous work in progress, I look forward to navigating that throughout my time here, learning to enjoy the benefits of hard-earned work while treasuring the here and now.