Ambiguity in the Office

I have almost finished my third week in Toronto and I really feel like I am settling into my new home. Thus far, I am really enjoying my internship placement and it’s never a dull day on the job. Currently, most of my time at my internship has been spent working with Pycap’s client, Coin Change Financial. They are a Canadian Financial services company that work in the crypto space. At the moment, we are working to launch the Beta of the project by the end of July, which means a lot of work has to be done in a relatively short amount of time. I have been conducting competitor research, creating business models, helping with logistics, and numerous other tasks. I love that I have been able to work on several different aspects of the product’s development during my time here. Outside of work, Toronto has been fantastic. The Toronto Raptors, the city’s NBA team just won the NBA Championship on Thursday night, causing a party in the streets. Being present to witness the celebrations in person is something that I will never forget. Lastly, my friends from home arrived this weekend and it was great to be able to play tour guide in my own city and show them all Toronto has to offer.

This week’s prompt is about how we experience uncertainty and ambiguity at our internships and how we manage it. This is an extremely relevant topic because I deal with large amounts of ambiguity and freedom everyday.

As I previously mentioned, I am doing the majority of my work for a crypto company called Coin Change Financial. Through my supervisor, I am assigned tasks that often have to be completed by certain deadlines. However, within each task, we as interns have the freedom to accomplish what’s asked of us in any way that we see fit. Sometimes, the written directions are not as clear or precise as I would like because I always want to make sure I am providing them exactly what they asked for. To work through this, I will often clarify with my boss, supervisor, or the CEO of Coin Change to get a better idea of what they are looking for. Ultimately, I have the autonomy to go about completing my assigned tasks in any way that I see fit.

Another way in which uncertainty or ambiguity affects my internship is the topics in which I am conducting my research. I am currently the lead Research Associate on the STO Advisory division of the company that is to be launched in October 2019. STO stands for Security Token Offering and a security token is essentially the digitization of an asset that can be traded. This area within finance is brand new and has created its own sector known as “FinTech.” Because this technology is so new and evolving every day, it creates an extremely steep learning curve to understand and work within this space. Over the past month or so, I have had to deal with large amounts of uncertainty about projecting the future of this industry. Every “expert” has their own opinion about when and how big the market will be, when in reality, no one’s certain. Due to the conflicting reports and rapidly developing technologies, I have had to educate myself as much as possible on this topic and create my own opinions and projections.

Lastly, my internship with Pycap is in the Venture Capital space. This means that the company is constantly looking for new prospective clients and start ups to invest in. When working with start ups, it seems that each person’s role in the company is less defined. Each member of the company works in multiple areas and does numerous tasks simultaneously that may not be in their “area of expertise/study” in order to get the company off the ground. When working in these areas outside of your comfort zone, it requires you to handle ambiguity well. Thus far, I have done work with the marketing department, technology development, and financial modeling, all areas that I do not have a great deal of prior experience in. To perform well in each of these roles independently, I have worked to educate myself as much as possible on my own time so I do not have to ask a million questions and I can be productive for the company.

While working with unclear directions and a large degree of independence can be challenging, it also presents opportunities. It gives you the chance to put your own influence and ideas into your work and ultimately provides a more creative finished product.