Entering the third week of my internship means I have gotten pretty accustomed to my work environment, especially in the physical sense. To preface, my company has been moving into a new building. This meant that until now, my desk and the room it has been in were barren and boxes surrounded us. Now that my company is officially moved into the new office spaces, my workspace does not seem so cluttered. This will be especially nice as I start handling bigger tasks in the coming weeks. This does not mean the process was a piece of cake. As a new intern in a new space and a new general manager entering, it took a lot to make the office come together.
My second week at my internship was an interesting scenario since the incoming general manager started getting the lay of the land while I was still just getting used to it. In a way, it was refreshing to not be the only new kid in town, but it also meant that the fate of the new office was in the hands of people who were strangers to both each other and the company. Nonetheless, a week of physical labor getting the space into working order ensued.
I found that most of the ambiguity this past week came from both of us being so new that we did not know what was wanted from us. My poor general manager’s head was spinning from all the new info she had thrown at her. Meanwhile, I was struggling with trying to match her expectations for the outlook of the space, even though she was often meeting with others about her new position. This left me alone to figure out a lot of what to put where or what tasks took priority when given a list. What I might see as most important might not be what she deems mission-critical.
There was also the ambiguity of what has gone on in the transitioning process prior to us joining the team. For instance, we both set up a couple of desks just to find out the next day that they were going to be exchanged. This would be frustrating since it felt like we were moving backward. This happened a few times throughout the week and it made it feel like we would never make progress.
Going through the trials of getting something as small as an office space done felt harder than it should have, but it made the turnout more rewarding as a result. We started figuring out a groove between us that helped us both get our tasks easily and successfully. A big tip I have learned is to write down as much as possible! Since we both had a thousand things and thoughts going on at once, writing notes for what or when something was needed definitely helped. It was also important on my end to speak up when I had ideas to make tasks easy or to remind my boss of something she forgot. She would also do the same for me when I was struggling. Understanding the level of ambiguity we both shared helped us work better as a team instead of tackling everything as individuals. It really was a team effort and we both realized we could not have done it by ourselves.
I think the most helpful thing throughout the week was just realizing when a break was needed. I feel as though my previous American work experience meant I would work nonstop if I was not told to take a break. My boss here certainly did not allow me to burn myself out. She generously offered to share a coffee or tea break with me or if I went to grab her a drink at the convenience store, she would tell me to pick something out as well. Letting both my mind and body rest was really helpful for both of us, considering all the physically demanding stuff we were doing.
This week might have been a lot to take in and I was confused on more than one occasion, but I felt that towards the end of the week, I was able to paint a clearer picture of what was required of me. Getting familiar with my boss was a major help! Even when she did not have all the answers, we were able to think together about a solution. When she was not available, writing down those clear instructions and goals helped a ton. I am grateful to have such helpful people to look up to within my company as it has helped me feel comfortable when I seek clarity in unclear circumstances.