Tag Archives | coworkers

The Internship Diaries #4 – Perfect Landing

Image by Alper Çuğun, Flickr

Image by Alper Çuğun, Flickr

Well, as you might have noticed, summer has come to an end and school is back in session. Time for the craziness to begin again. In fact, I’ve already been so busy that I haven’t had time to write this post until now.

Now that I’ve been away from it for a week or so, I can say that I genuinely miss my internship. Office life, yes, the work, yes, but mostly the people. I was heartbroken that I would have to say goodbye to these people who, without knowing it, made the second most difficult summer of my life bearable. At the beginning of summer, I had just received some bad news, and I felt like I had to start my entire life over again. Now, somehow I’m a completely new person, with new interests and skills and friends and confidence, and I would be remiss if I didn’t give some credit for that to the place where I spent the majority of my time.

It was so gratifying to see the projects that I’d been working on for so long completed – I got to see a PDF of the designed version of the manuscript I’d been working on, and apart from one glaring misstep on the part of the graphic designer, it looked amazing. I can’t wait to get a copy to show off. Both of the videos that I filmed were released, and you can watch the one that I starred in, about bullying, social anxiety, and depression, here. It was decided that I would contribute to the blog I edited myself, as a writer this time.

I started out wobbly – like I was pushed off a cliff and I wasn’t sure if I was going to survive or not. But not only did I make it to the ground safely, it was a perfect landing. During my last week at the office, I was offered a part-time position with the organization, doing what I had already been doing but mainly from home, and for money. Of course, it doesn’t pay well, and the details are still hazy, but I was blown away.

I guess if I had to pick one thing that I hope readers take away from this series, it would be this – believe in yourself. Like really believe in yourself; even if you think that you’re the exception to every rule out there, and people just don’t get you, and your life just sucks. Believe in yourself. I was never the girl who got the guy, or anything else she wanted for that matter, and over time I’ve learned to expect failure or mediocrity at best. I’ve gotten better at encouraging myself to try things anyway, and do what makes me happy, but I don’t expect these things to be successful. Expecting success seemed arrogant and ridiculous. But maybe it’s not. Understand that there’s always the possibility of failure for everyone, and that no matter what there will always be challenges, but ultimately, expect success. It just might happen. That’s what I’ve learned.

I hope you’ve enjoyed following my little journey, and I encourage you to follow me on twitter @chelsearrr, where I post far more frequently than I should!

Internship Diaries – Entry #3

Image by Moresheth, Flickr

Image by Moresheth, Flickr

 
Just joining in? Catch up with Entry #1 and Entry #2.

Office Relationships

No, I don’t mean THOSE kinds of relationships (though they’re not entirely excluded). All work environments have a set of relationship dynamics in play, and up until this summer, I had never had to deal with office dynamics, or what some might call ‘office politics’. As an unpaid student intern, I was preparing for the worst. If they treated me like I didn’t know anything, I could hardly blame them – I’m not even studying anything even remotely related to mental health.

However, by and large I am treated as an equal. Although the paid employees delegate tasks to me, they usually ask for my feedback and take it into consideration. My boss always wants me to come to meetings to participate and offer my thoughts, even though I am only here for one more month. Once, I couldn’t make a meeting, and she rescheduled it just so that I could attend.

Of course, in a teeny tiny organization like the one I work for, things like that are easy to do. When you work for a large corporation, it’s inevitable that some things will slip through the cracks. I’m lucky, to be sure, but I’m still a firm believer that everyone else can be this lucky too, unless your boss is truly evil. If you want to be treated more like an equal and gain more experience, ask. Just make sure that you have the time for the new responsibilities. Why wouldn’t your boss let you sit in on a meeting if you’ve already finished all of your other work for the day? And if you show that you’re eager to learn, it’s harder for a superior to treat you like you’re “just a student” who doesn’t know anything.

That doesn’t mean I don’t deal with my fair share of confusion, though. Some offices are full of lively relationships, where people are friends outside of work and go for lunch together and gossip at each others’ desks. These days you even hear about progressive companies instituting things like company retreats and putting recreational activities inside their offices and whatnot. Others are cold and clinical – people do their work and go home, only interacting for business purposes. Mine isn’t quite like that, but I would hardly call it overly friendly.

Everyone gets along quite well at the office. We collaborate on projects, and even when staff members disagree they always keep the discussion respectful and informed. We make small talk about our weekends and the weather. But that’s about where it ends. No one sees each other outside of work hours or shares too much with each other. This is all fine, but what if you want more?

Maybe it’s because I don’t have a packed social calendar, but sometimes I wish that some of us were friends. I really enjoy the company of the younger people in the office – I think they’re smart, funny, and just all around cool people. I would like to spend more time with them and get to know them better. Yet, my few attempts to do so generally fail. I don’t know how to “take things to the next level” without it being awkward. Most people would just say, “Hey, can I add you on Facebook?” But in an environment where no one initiates these kinds of things, it’s hard to feel like you’re not being super obvious and weird.

Unfortunately, this is a problem that I have not yet solved. So this is me asking YOU for advice – how would you make friends at work? How would you take it to the next level?

As usual you can tweet be with your thoughts (or anything else) @chelsearrr and I will see you next month for my last post!