A Balancing Act

¡Buenos Días!

Welcome to my week three update! I can not believe that I am two days away from having lived in Madrid for three weeks already. Although three weeks is a short time in the long run, so much has already happened. I feel like I have been here for a lifetime, but that is probably because in these past three weeks, I have made memories that will last a lifetime. Firstly, on Saturday, May 28th, the Real Madrid soccer team won the Champions League final. The whole day was filled with celebrations starting from at least 4 pm until 3am. The streets were filled with hundreds upon hundreds of fans chanting Real Madrid’s cheers, dancing, and even climbing on rooftops to hype up the crowd. My friends and I joined the pre- and post-game celebrations and I can say for certain that I have never seen so many people in one spot before. If I had to guess, there were at least ONE MILLION people in the plaza of the Banco de España after the game, all to celebrate the win. Being able to participate in the festivities was truly a once in a lifetime experience and to be honest, it did not feel real. However, I loved seeing a whole city come together to celebrate their city’s win and to feel so proud to be a Madrileño/a and as dramatic as it might sound, I felt rejuvenated by it. I am so so thankful for that experience and for being able to share it with my new friends. 

This week I have also worked on a variety of projects at my internship. These projects included counting inventory at the in-office warehouse, adjusting the inventory counts in our system, analyzing and discussing two business cases, learning about International Commerce Terms (Incoterm), checking every product’s general and purchase prices and determining if the product was Delivery Duty Paid (DDP) or Ex-works (EXW) and from there, modifying the prices if necessary. I have really enjoyed doing something new each day because I feel like I am learning or utilizing a new skill every day. However, my favorite project so far was 

reading about Incoterm because I was/am very excited to learn about the purchasing process of Supply Chain and my director informed me that Incoterm is an essential part of this department. Hence, I have already started expanding my knowledge of logistics and have also already put it into practice. 

Although my internship has been very fun and informative so far, there are moments when it can be difficult and discouraging. For example, when I receive very few instructions or when there are moments of confusion, it can be challenging to try to overcome these obstacles and continue working while feeling lost. For example, my director has worked from home for six out of the nine days I have been working at Smileat. This has made my tasks harder to complete because we can only communicate through Google Chat. Hence, when I have questions about my duties, I have to wait a lot longer than if she was in the office and it makes it feel a lot more official which also makes me want to ask questions less. However, because she is explaining my jobs over the computer and typically only explains the main core of the task and does not touch on the small variations in details, I have a lot of questions especially because I want to do my tasks correctly the first time and not make unnecessary mistakes. In order to battle the problems of lack of instructions and lack of timely communication, I have started to do three things. First, I try to send my director a question as soon as I have it in order to save time and overcome the issue right away. Then while I wait for her response, I search around their system (Ordoo) to familiarize myself with its functionality and learn where certain information is stored in order to improve my efficiency in future projects and to determine if I can solve the question at hand. If I can not find the solution and my boss has still not responded to me, I will start to do the task in more than one way. I do this because I really dislike sitting around doing nothing and feeling helpless. Hence, I believe that if I carry out a task in different manners, I can cover more of my bases and then by the time I do receive a response, I typically have started the task in the correct way and then can continue as I was doing before, but with less steps. Additionally, sometimes there is ambiguity within my tasks. For example, one of my tasks last week was to read, analyze, answer questions, and then discuss my findings with my director. When my director and I had different answers, I would listen to her explanations and ask her questions so I could grasp her thought process and understand the logistical reasons behind her answers. I would then re-evaluate my responses and determine if there was any overlap of our thought process and if not, if I should change my answers based on her reasonings. When there has been ambiguity and when it will occur in the future, I plan to continue to ask questions because I believe it is the only way to see the full picture of a problem and understand how each different response connects to one another.  

¡Muchas gracias por leer esta actualización de la semana y espero que regrese la próxima semana! 

Saoirse Hopp