In Between “Visitor” and “Local”

Does anyone know where I can find the “slowdown” button? I’m nothing short of amazed that we are finishing up our sixth week here in Dublin. Truthfully, I find myself in this similar amazement at the conclusion of every week, in awe of how time seems to be moving. It’s a bit awkward to be in the position we are in relative to everyone else living in Dublin. I was trying to describe it to my sister the other day, mentioning my odd position in the middle of the spectrum with “visitor” on one end and “local” on the other. I can’t identify with either of these terms, but consider myself to be somewhere in the middle of the two. Every day brings a sense of newness and novelty to it. At the same time, however, I’ve gone back to favourite spots, invested in work relationships, and have developed a routine here in Dublin that I would be more than happy to never bid farewell to. 

I’ve highlighted rather frequently the unpredictability that each and every day brings. As the weeks have progressed, this has changed a little bit. While every day continues to look very different from the previous one, I’ve consistently worked with two large projects and have been making progress with each of them. Both projects are related to process improvement within Caffe Parigi, allowing me to lean into coursework related to operations and efficiency. While I have classes to look back on for support and information, I’m learning as I go for the majority of the work. The larger of the two projects is a high level analysis of the current production process within Caffe Parigi, highlighting the respective costs of that process. 

There is a piece of consistency that I savour each day: my lunch break. It continues to be a wonderful chance to catch my breath and enjoy the beautiful view that lies outside our work space (aka Victoria’s apartment)(see featured picture).

It’s been interesting to be a part of these two companies (Caffe Parigi and FXCH) and be in a role that is vastly different from positions I have been in before. One huge contrast between this opportunity and previous ones is the element of people. Other than conversing with my co workers daily, most of the work I do is independent, as opposed to collaborative. I’ve seen the benefits and drawbacks to working independently, but am realising that my preference is to be in a role that depends on collaboration and working with other people. I value the opportunity to gain the perspectives of other people. I firmly believe that we have a lot to learn from the perspectives that other people carry. 

Another aspect to the element of people is leadership. Because our cohort is so small, there isn’t an established system of hierarchy. This aspect of my work experience has been empowering. It is clear that everyone’s input is valued and heard, regardless of experience and title. Exercising leadership looks a bit different in this setting than in settings I’ve been in before. In this role, I’ve seen the importance of initiative. When it comes to making progress with a project or getting a more complete idea of the whole puzzle, it has been crucial for me to take initiative with those conversations, which also has emphasised the importance of effective communication. Being successful and efficient in a startup environment is dependent on effective communication because time and people are such limited resources. 

Throughout this experience, I’ve found myself thinking back to previous experiences, implicitly comparing and contrasting them. There is a dramatic contrast between this experience and my internship with Aldi, which is something I think of often considering how recent it was. I’ve come to realise that it isn’t a matter of which was better than the other, but rather what aspects from each were pieces I enjoyed and, alternatively, what pieces that I didn’t enjoy. Connecting these dots has not only lead to a better understanding of the variety of businesses and organisations, but has also lead to a better understanding of myself and the aspects of a career that are important to me, such as the importance of being with people and having the opportunity to work collectively toward something related to other people.

This experience has been incredibly valuable, to say the least. Look at me getting ahead of myself… we still have 3 weeks left! Lot’s of growing and learning still to come. That being said, I am truly thankful to be where I am, not only physically in Dublin, but also to be in this position as a student with access to an abundance of resources to learn about the world and my position in it.