The post below is one of my many posts taken from the Alberta School of Business CESA Blog. During my last month of co-op, I reflected on my experience, my thoughts at the time, the RIM corporate culture, and some teamwork skills I developed. I liked the post so much, I have decided to share it in this blog. I will write a follow up blog post to that day, now that I have returned to campus. (Life has been incredibly busy, but I have been cleaning up, catching up, and creating more balance in my life. I’m working out regularly now!)
This afternoon, a fellow #RIMstudent came over to chat. We were both exhausted from staring at our monitors all day and decided to take a break…to talk more about technology! Last night, I went to see a ($4.75 on Tuesdays) movie with 2 other co-ops and tonight, another co-op is coming over to “chill”. (We’re baking cinnamon buns at 10pm and experimenting with beans and glutinous yam pearls for a Chinese dessert.) Each day, I am reminded that it’s August and my 8-month work term will be ending soon.
I have not been blogging because, truthfully, I am extremely sad my term is coming to an end. It’s not really about the pay cheque, nor the perks of having EXTREMELY COOL TOYS to play with all the time and knowing about things before anyone else (above all other things), it’s the people I interact with every day, the projects and (global) community I have an impact on, and the skills I am constantly expanding and nurturing. During my visit to Edmonton earlier this summer, I was so eager to video chat with my teammates back in Waterloo. I actually looked forward to waking up to seeing their names on my chat program for work. Life won’t be the same without our weekly team meetings and having a crazy number of programs open on my laptop. Not to mention lunch with guys, being able to call the team whenever (super open-door policy), and just…everything. (Like talking everything tech, BlackBerry, social media, etc. and getting open answers. Any time I needed to know anything, I would just ask!)
You know what? Maybe it is time to go back. To revisit the classroom. And to recognize what I have been missing. (Not emotionally. Physically.) Classroom learning and learning in the workplace is VERY different. I think part of me is hesitant to go back to school, concerned about what it will be like doing group projects again and if I will have savvy group members. I have a tendency to manage projects I work on and working with students seems almost more challenging than working in the workplace. (It’s really not difficult in the workplace at all!) Perhaps I have been very lucky to have had an experience where I was able to constantly push myself, acquire assistance from a very supporting team, and could pretty much choose the experience and skills I wanted to learn. (Not to mention my youthful and vibrant team!) Have you ever had a manager ask you “what [you ] want to learn?” and “if there were any projects [you] wanted to join?”
Nevertheless, we’re not always lucky to have such pleasant experiences with teamwork. Throughout the last 4 years, I have definitely worked with all kinds of students – the slackers, the keeners, the ones you just gel with, etc. It’s a people skill, right? One of my mentors told me I wouldn’t always be able to choose who I worked with and that was life. I have friends who choose to only work with those they trust and others who (un)willingly do it just because they “have to”. My personal approach to this situation is to realize that I need to know how to work with all kinds of individuals and to see each situation as a learning opportunity. I am still young, and until I am in a position where I make the (key) decisions, all of these lessons will have taught me how to interact with every kind of person; a trait many leaders possess. My mind is a large database of knowledge – how to interact with different personalities, cultures, genders, ages, experiences, etc. It’s a people skill. Learn it!
Today was a fun day. I presented an overview of my project to my team. Yes, it was all virtual (and I probably spoke faster than I wanted to – I forced myself to take pauses), but I didn’t feel at all nervous like I usually would. Maybe a tad, since I only decided to present it this morning… (See how amazing our team culture is? Ask your director in the morning and he asks you to add it to the meeting agenda and *BOOM!* you’re presenting in the afternoon. OK, maybe no big deal, but that’s such an open culture.) Nevertheless, I took a tea break an hour before our meeting and reminded myself my audience was just my team. It eased my nerves, because I feel like I have somewhat of a personal relationship with almost everyone on my team. We are literally one big #RIMfamily.
I’m off to prep for an #MNetwork meeting. God bless and I hope this post provided you with some insight. Sorry for the extra words. I’m pretty tired and it’s 8pm… Thanks for listening and glad you like the sharing! (I know you liked it…because you keep coming back. I do check stats. haha!) If you’ve missed out on some of my other posts, see here.
Edits made Thursday morning: I baked crispy BBQ chicken breasts instead last night and learned how to use Adobe InDesign. I also made a larger batch of the sweet bean soup for lunch today and brought lunch for my teammate. We’re having a potluck. My teammate brought just fruit.
Tammy YT Wong