Week 3 – Adaptability and Flexibility

Having worked for two weeks, I realize that working is very different from studying at Pitt. This is what I did not expect before. In the first two weeks, since I had not got used to the lifestyle in this new city, San Francisco, and the workplace, I met some difficulties. For example, the eight-hour schedule from 10 in the morning to 6 in the afternoon was overwhelming for me, and I had to learn how to concentrate, focus and working efficiently for a long time. Time management was also much more important but hard for me. The heavy traffic and the unpunctual subway put me in trouble several times. Besides this, experiencing unclear directions when I received some tasks is one of the most challenging things. 

Working is not similar to taking classes at the university. At every beginning of each course, the professor always gives students a clear syllabus with every deadline of and the detailed instruction of assignments. However, at the workplace, according to my own experience, my boss did not make everything very clear for me, and this is normal. For example, my first task was researching more than fifty venture capitals focusing on women-led startups and companies. He wanted me to make a spreadsheet with information on every fund. However, he did not give me a clear answer for what kind of information should be put in the spreadsheet, and he was not sure by himself, either. Thus, for the first time, I submitted my result, and we discussed, we found that much more information should be added and used. Therefore, I spent another two days making the spreadsheet more complete. Furthermore, since I did not take any course about venture capital at Pitt, I was not familiar with this industry. I did not know how to use different relevant websites to find what I wanted efficiently. Thus, I also spent many hours mastering these skills. It is true that my boss is kind and patient. He spent time talking with me and teaching me how to finish these tasks. However, he was busy meeting different clients, investors, partners and employees. His instructions for me were not enough, so jobs were still challenging.

After finding that the instructions were unclear, and I did not know how to start the job, I was confused and helpless at the moment. I tried to ask other employees for help. However, since the venture capital that I am working for is at its beginning, the team does not have many people that I can turn to. Therefore, I decided to rely on my own. I tried to look up and understand every new concept and terms on the Internet. In this way, I first understood the background and overview of the early-stage fund and venture capital. Therefore, I had a general idea about what our fund needs and what I should do. Then I read tons of news and articles to understand the recent events and the trend. Getting familiar with the industry is the first step I took. Nevertheless, depending on myself does not mean that I did not communicate with other people. Communication plays an essential role in the workplace. When I was working on tasks, I always checked with my boss to see whether he could offer me any advice an answer to some questions for me. I also talked with other teammates to make sure that I can finish my responsibility on time because I did not want the whole team to wait for me. However, everyone was busy, especially my boss. Therefore, for some uncertainties, I could not receive a clear answer. In this situation, I tried to have a plan B. I collected all the information that I might use. If my boss wanted me to make any change, I could easily do that. Working is not like taking a class because the former does not always have the right answer. Only when communicating with others, can I learn more, understand more and work more efficiently and effectively.

After having this internship for two weeks, I truly understood the difficulty in the workplace. I realized that I should have my ideas and make many decisions by myself. Nobody can give clear instructions for everything and answer all my questions. However, relying on myself is not the only requirement. Communicating with the whole team, understanding the common goal, and finishing my duties in time is also crucial. Gradually getting used to the workplace, I look forward to receiving more challenges in the rest of the weeks.