Things I Learnt from My Internship Experiences

  1. Bring your personality.
    When entering a room where everyone seems so sure of themselves, don’t be demoralised or be scared. Instead, show them who you are and what makes you different. Your personality is your competitive advantage. Sometimes, you may feel different from others and hence, out of place, but maybe that’s the reason you were hired to begin with. The place may need a little bit more quirkiness, meticulousness, healthy living, or edge. So, just be yourself and let your personality shine. The workplace can be a better place just by having you around.

  2. Be accountable and take initiative.
    You may be working at the bottom of the totem pole and you may feel that you have no power over things but always remember that you have a power over your actions and what you show other people. You can always choose to speak up, have an opinion, contribute a suggestion. Even though you’re the tiniest ant in the colony, you can still be the most hardworking. No one will stop you from going over and beyond what you ought to do. But the thing is, no one will ask you either. So if you think something’s ought to be done, have the initiative and step up.
  3. Have a very open mind.
    Some people underestimate the phrase “have an open mind.” Out there in the real world, a lot of other things need to come with an open-mind. You need to be understanding of other people’s mind set, you need to be sympathetic of other people’s mind. You need to be mature enough to understand that not all people think alike. In fact, everyone choose to different things in their own ways at their own times. Heck! You even to realise that some people have a different set of principles, ideals, priorities, moralities, work ethics, level or responsibilities as you. And all I’ve got to say is, have a very open mind.
  4. Be humble.
    Yes, you may be the creme de la creme to be able to get this job. However, being the best outside doesn’t mean you have nothing to learn inside. Realise that everyone around you has something to offer and you will always have something new to learn. By being proud, you will be complacent and continue to assume that you are the best. By doing so, you are closing your windows to many other things that could have developed you as an employee and as a person. Moreover, bosses like people who are eager to learn. I guess, it’s better to ask seemingly stupid questions sometimes instead of always making stupid mistakes. So, be humble and ask questions. Understand that no matter how good you are, there is always room for improvements. So, be humble.
  5. Give respect. Earn respect.
    One thing people often forget in a system filled with corporate ladder and rat race is the value of respect. One must not confuse fear with respect. The thing is, respect does not automatically come with one’s designation. Nor can respect be bought with money. Even if a person is on top of the chain of command, they will need to earn respect through their ideologies and actions. Moreover, people “below” find it easier to respect people on top if they are respected in return instead of being belittled. Respect is a two-way thing. Hence, regardless of where you are on the totem pole, respect others and gain respect in return.
  6. Manage your time.
    Time-management is the most crucial thing around. Not only do you have to ensure that you are able to meet all the deadlines, you also have to ensure that you have time for yourself, your family, your friends, and others. Sometimes, it just seems so easy to get buried in our pile of work, and foregoing meals, dinner plans, exercising, and loads of other mundane-but-healthy social activities. If you think money is important, imagine how important time is. You wouldn’t want to look back realising that all you’ve done for the past few decade is work.
  7. Do something you believe in.
    Just like finding a boyfriend, it easy to find a job. But, to find a job that you love and enjoy now, that’s a different topic. But the thing is, once you find a job you really like and believe in, you will look forward to it in the morning. You will always be motivated to contribute to it and help it grow. And the more you help it grow, the more you will grow as well. When you talk to other people about it, they’ll feel the fire of passion in you and you will always “sell” what you have to sell. This will be your avenue to spread your wings and make a difference. After all, would you like to spend 10 hours of your life a day on something you don’t even believe in?
  8. Have someone to look up to.
    It is inevitable to have a boss who you have a very difficult time to see eye to eye with. Fortunately, there’s almost always someone you can look up to. Someone you can confide in, someone who’ll appreciate and value your contribution, and (hopefully) someone who’ll defend when people blame you just because you’re the easiest escape goat around. These people will take their time to share things with you, teach new things to you, and most of all, respect what you have to offer.
  9. Keep supportive friends around.
    Working has the ability to eat us alive. It is just so easy to engross yourself in it and be stuck in the rat race. But the thing about being in a rat race is that even if/when you win, you are still a rat. Sometimes, spending time with friends may feel like a “waste of time” when you’re supposed to be working. But, believe me. Those excel sheets, word documents, and pdf files will always be there. So, I say, remember to keep your good friends around. Surround yourself with people who has light-hearted jokes to share, who’ll remind you of the big picture. Make time for friends who have been bugging you for a drink on weekends. It’s always good to have a breath of fresh air from work.
  10. Always look at the big picture.
    Whatever you are working as, it is inevitable that there will be numerous shortbacks and pet peeves that will bottleneck you from your goal. But the thing is, we should always look at the BIG picture and not be bogged down by the small things. Although there are things to be learned in these areas, we should not be completely distracted by it. The first step in winning the game is to ensure that you are IN the game. Keep the endgame in mind and keep the ball in the court. Prioritise on things that will help you get to your goal. If one thing does not work, maybe another one will. So, no matter how many small hiccups you have, get over it and remember the big picture instead.

 

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Always make time for other things.

As inspired by someone asking me, “where do you find the time to blog?”

Always find time to do things with your life. Both the shortest day and the longest day are always 24-hours long. it’s simply either you run the day or let the day run you. But if you ask me, utilize your time fully; maximize every minute. (Whoops! that might be the economist in me talking). Always make sure that you make the most with it. Make sure that you have time for your family, friends, work, and yourself. Time is more valuable than money. You can’t earn it, steal it, or take it back. Believe it or not, I’ve completed a short swim, a 2.5km run, a project meeting, and a set of panel questions within the past 2 days. While today and tomorrow, I’m off to dinner with my friends. Yet, I still have enough sleep and time to blog. (:

Oftentimes we hear people say, “I’m too busy.” But, in my opinion,  there’s no such thing as being “busy.” It’s all about managing time and setting priorities. “Focusing on [your career]” doesn’t mean you’re gonna do just that 24/7, 365 days a year. That simply makes you a boring 1Dimensional person. No one would want to be around such characters, not to mention hire them. “Focusing,” in general, means sitting there and putting in 100% of what you’ve got. Full concentration; no daydreaming, no procrastinating, no distraction. Then, after that stipulated time, go out there and do something else. Take the time to exercise, read the news, catch a movie, meet people, pick up a hobby or whatever – who cares?! This not only makes you a more “interesting” person, it also gives your mind a break and refreshes you for new ideas.

When planning your time, be active instead of passive. Plan to make it a little exciting. Seriously, would you look forward if it is something boring? Whatever it is, always make time. Time management means ensuring that there’s a time for everything instead of letting things be time-consuming.