Walking East to Walking West – A Thousand Miles Away #9 (Life of an Intern)

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En route to Seattle

This month has been one of my favorites so far. One of my major goals this semester was to make one video – I was not even thinking of creating a channel on YouTube, I just wanted to make one video talking about my internship search experience, and give advice for the upcoming graduates to ease their journey. I got to accomplish that finally. You need small wins in life, and this was one such.

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Spring is just too beautiful 🙂

It was also the month I went from an academic environment into a corporate environment. That brought with it a bucket of new experiences.

1. Learning video writing, shooting and editing

Kudos to every single YouTuber out there. The effort and time that goes into content writing, video shooting and editing is massive. Some people do not appreciate making videos as a profession. I don’t blame them – It’s similar to organizing an event, it looks easy until you step to the other side.

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I put in easily over 15 hours just to finish writing the PDF guide and the content for the video. It took an entire week of shooting to finish it all – I cannot express my gratitude towards two of my friends who were there throughout. And it took me 4 more days to finish editing it to perfection (or at least, as much as I could). On the whole, easily 45-50 hours spent on a 15 minute video. I have no regrets though – the journey was absolutely worth it!

However, the scary part about YouTube is, you never know how well your video would do. Keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that my video reaches the right kind of audience. Link to the BLOOPERS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avjMSWuqFmI

2. Keeping personal and professional life aside. Finally.

In my previous article, I had mentioned how the entire week I spent in India was a chaotic mess because I tried to achieve success in both professional and personal life. When I came to Bellevue, Washington a week back, I told myself that I will stick to the following resolutions:

I will not use my phone at work to check any social media. I will use it only in cases of emergency.

I will not think about any personal life problems while at work. In office, I will give 100% dedication to the work at hand.

I will not think about work once I leave the office and focus the entire time on doing the things I liked and talking to people.

I will keep eating properly and being healthy asa top priority for the summer

Finally, I will create more YouTube videos.

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So far, I have been executing the first three points 100% (let’s say, fourth and fifth are at 80% progress), and I feel great about it. There is some peace of mind in knowing that you only need to focus on what’s at hand in the moment.

3. Working at a University vs Company

This is my first time entering the corporate world. Until now, I’ve been safeguarded by the four walls of Universities – all of my internships have been at Universities, working on research projects. I’ve had the fortune of interning at all three kinds as well – engineering, science and management Universities. What’s common among them all? More often than not, your Professor will give you the freedom to work as you like.

In a corporate world, a lot of expectations are set on you by others. Your work, if executed well, could have a major impact by

  1. Making the life of an employee or customer easier
  2. Bringing in more revenue for the company
  3. Increase the reputation of the department (or even company)

This is not to say working at a University entails taking up lesser work or responsibility (I strongly believe researchers make a greater impact than managers any day). You still have to put in the same effort, except now you have more at stake.

4. Adaptability

Honestly speaking, the kind of luxury I had in Columbia vs now is starkly different. Having a big (furnished) apartment, eating outside every day, having a social lounge, a TV – all of these were a luxury there. It is still going to be, when I go back next semester. But here, I’m fortunate to have all that, and more.

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Botanical Garden, Bellevue + Behind the Cloud novel

At some point in life, I sincerely hope you will reach a stage where you would have experienced both. I’m reaching that now, and what I realize is: I feel completely at peace in living in both (and you should as well). However, the level of productivity has been high since I came to Washington. Mainly because the number of distractions here are very few, and you have an environment that prompts you to work in silence. Columbia had this as well, but classes, assignments and internships always ate up your time, that you had none left to dedicate to doing the things you liked.

Now that I do have some time in the late evenings, I’m hoping to start doing that.

5. A good team does wonders

I’ve worked in bad teams, maybe even a lot more than good ones. In Columbia as well as in NIT Trichy. Teams where there was no real connection between the people, where the only string holding everything together was the stress to complete the project. I was hoping against hope that things would be different at Salesforce.

The first day I came, my manager had two coffee chats with me to ensure that I feel comfortable. My mentor has met me every day the past week, and never fails to ask, ‘Are you doing okay?’. So far, the people in the office have been amicable and are open to conversations at any time. I’m realizing the wonders that such an environment can do to your work and stress level.

That is not to say you work poorly or become lax. This environment thrives solely on the basis of people who work hard.

Here is a brilliant article talking about what makes a good team: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/28/magazine/what-google-learned-from-its-quest-to-build-the-perfect-team.html

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I’ve also been thinking a lot about creating a dedicated group for people to share articles, and keep a repository of good content. Would love any suggestions on this line, as well as suggestions on what the next video topic should be (have a couple in mind for now). On the whole, it’s been one of the better months so far!

Do you feel like talking to me?

Follow me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pooja_balasubs/

Follow me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pooja.balasubramani?ref=bookmarks

Cheers! 🙂

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Glimpse of Spring in NYC

 

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