Life as a new intern at patientMpower

Have you been wondering what the first week was like for a brand new visitor to Ireland starting her very first internship? Have you been cheering me on from the other side of the ocean?  If so, and even if not, thank you for your time and support! Sit back and relax while I describe a normal day during the week of going to my internship and how I am managing my time in this beautiful new-to-me country. I hope to provide you with insight into my daily life and how I manage work tasks and a social life.

My alarm clock in Ireland sounds the exact same as it does in Pittsburgh, which is too loud and always too early. It jars me to consciousness right around 7 AM. Once awake, I eat breakfast, possibly prep my lunch, and generally get ready for the day. I then walk to the bus stop around 8:15 to 8:20 and wait for the double-decker that takes me into city center. City transportation has been another new experience and I’m grateful for how easy the schedule is to understand, and how pleasant Dubliners are, especially that early in the morning, and even when I accidentally spill coffee on them. I arrive to the office around 8:40 to 8:50 and sit down at my cube. It was a big culture shock to realize that no one clocks in or out of their shift. An employee could show up 30 minutes late or leave 30 minutes early at patientMpower, and not get in trouble for the shortened time. I asked my boss about this because I am used to reporting when I go on breaks and how long so management knows I’m not wasting my time, or theirs. My manager explained that as long as we are getting our work done, which will be clear over a period of time, there is no reason for micromanagement. Maybe this is the norm for many companies here and at home, but it was my first exposure to self-management and my own accountability without punching a timecard. This has not been the case with my previous jobs as they included strict schedules and demanding deadlines with bosses requiring closely monitoring all personnel for adherence. It is quite a wonderful change!

After getting much needed coffee, I settle back into my desk and start work for the day. On my very first day of work, my manager gave me a sheet of paper with about 3 to 4 massive projects on them. I could pick and choose what I wanted to do and prioritize as I see appropriate. Even though I greatly appreciate this level of ownership, it also brought about a sense of anxiety. What do I prioritize? What is the most important to the business? Who will I be letting down if I fail?  After several days I realized they gave me this list and no specific order for a reason. It will be helpful whenever I accomplish it but it does not have a harsh deadline as well. Now please do not misunderstand my explanation as patientMpower is a very fast paced environment with many work calls and meetings every day. I prioritize my tasks based on the congruency of the work with my peers and my own interest. Everything will be done in the summer but if there’s something I’m particularly interested in doing, I choose it first. I have an hour break for lunch, whenever I choose to take it, and I leave by 5 PM. My office has two main rooms, a desk for the CEO and the engineering team, and then in the other room is the marketing, sales, and project managers, which is where I sit. It is nice to be surrounded by other people so I can ask questions if I need to. The office is located on Merion Street, which is a beautiful row of old townhouses converted into offices. A lot of my very first week was self-guided because my main manager was on holiday. Of course, I still found quite a lot to do with my time with onboarding and training but it was a very different situation than I expected.

I am excited to continue exploring Dublin! This weekend I took an 11-mile hike from Sandy Point Beach to Seapoint beach. The view was incredible and I met some really wonderful people along the way. I’m trying to branch outside of my comfort zone and be more receptive to solo trips within regular safety means. I saw quite a lot of people swimming which surprised me because it was only 65° out. I packed my bathing suit and I’m hoping to take the plunge just to try it once this summer! Today I went to the Book of Kells and saw the absolute stunningly beautiful library at Trinity College. I talked to several workers and learned about a lot of the historical aspects preserved there.  I am so grateful I went it was experience I won’t soon forget.