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Sunday, January 5, 2014

First day of internship notes

I over-estimated the time needed to get to the office again – I arrived about a half hour early, took a short puff and sat in the car for about 10 minutes. Dunhill Ice is the bomb!

That’s the nice thing about this office – it takes less than 15 minutes to get here, and the route is pretty straightforward, without the need to go through any tolls. The only thing is the horrid condition of the highway to get there. And I don’t need to worry much about shoes – the office has a no-shoes policy, which will hopefully encourage more pedicure awareness. AND IT ISN’T LIKE THE ARCTIC CIRCLE HERE! At least, not yet.

Supposedly, there are three other interns here who are also from Taylor’s, one of them whom I’ve seen pretty often, and we shared some classes together (Winston’s class, was it?), and the other one whom I’ve known since foundation. The office seems to be made up of all ladies, most not older than 30, from the looks of it – mainly Chinese, but definitely female majority. I haven’t seen the actual boss yet. They seem friendly enough – either it’s my own tenseness, or that the first day of work post-new year is typically bleaker.

The receptionist seems the friendliest for now – she speaks with a pretty thick mainland Chinese accent, so it’s gonna take me some time to get used to it. And I’ll need to stop blasting my music so much – my junior was right, I am partially deaf as it is. And for some reason – or maybe it’s my own problem – people seem to speak much softer than usual now. I think it’s just my eardrums losing their elasticity.

Then again, the place seems relaxed enough – company culture isn’t too strict, and conversations run quite freely. I guess it’s just a matter of familiarizing myself with this kind of culture. Strange, because I didn’t have this problem when I was at my waitress job – maybe it’s because I already had a set task list when I was there, so I could just go about with my work.

Here: everyone is busy, because there’s a huge event coming up next week, and it’ll be more or less the only event that I (as well as the other few interns) will be working on while we’re here.

The office itself is pretty clean-cut – white walls, plain desks, interesting light fixtures here and there, framed paintings and photos accentuating some parts of the walls, decorative items in selected corners, some printed encouragement quotes stuck here and there, and a small Christmas tree in the middle of nowhere.

For the first half hour since I walked into the office, so many questions run through my head. What am I gonna do today? Is it possible that I’d screw up on the first day? What about lunch – do they just take the short walk out to the nearby business area, or do they drive out? Where’s the bathroom? Do I get a punchcard (I did and I got a detailed rundown on how to punch it)? What if I’m assigned something big today and I screw it up? What if I forget who I’m supposed to report to?

I should have slept wayyy earlier the previous night, and that coffee shouldn’t have been so strong. Pre-mixed coffee somehow tastes better than home-made coffee now – my taste buds for coffee have been more commercialized.


By the way, my right arm muscles are sore now. Seriously? Just from playing darts? I need to do more weight training.


My supervisor sits upstairs – the kind of lady who is pretty, but seems intimidating. I wonder if I made the wrong choice by mentioning during the interview that I want to be put in more situations that I have to talk to strangers to hopefully “cure” my people-shyness. So much for being a communication student.

The dress code still hasn’t been clarified – should I dress like blouse and skirt/slacks every day? Or can I go a little more casual, because some members of staff don’t seem quite fussy about lengths of skirts and all that.

I wonder when I’d ever get over my first-day nerves. I suck at meeting new people in person – being shy isn’t really a good thing, especially when you have an inherited ego problem. Placing an online order for sex toys would be less awkward and nerve-wracking than this.

This is like when I first joined Taylor’s for my foundation course – the awkwardness level was over 9000. And it stayed that way for a while, and then I met the same people over and over again every semester, which has its pros and cons. I really hope it won’t take as long for me to melt into the company as it did for me to melt into Taylor’s culture.


The lesson learned today is that you should be very careful about what you say during your interview – I mentioned that I wanted to be forced to communicate more with strangers during my internship, and right now I’m being put in that situation and am partially regretting it. The problem with strangers are that not all of them are nice, and I’ve come to realize that I have a slight stutter problem, even when I’m talking to my best friend (whether it’s nerves, or just that I want to talk too fast but my mouth and tongue can’t keep up).


I met the head of marketing on the day that I came for my interview, and when I was introduced to her, she said that she recognized me because of my tattoo. So far, I haven’t been called out on it negatively.


Just 11am and I already find myself looking forward to the end of the day. Has it really come to this? The extent to which I prefer to avoid all problems and just hide in the comfort of my social shell, that I’m dreading the next 7 hours of work on the first day already? FML is right.


Is it normal to be sitting around waiting on the first day? Or is it just my lack of initiative? Perhaps it’s my own thing that I put too much emphasis on rank difference, and I hate being the one who’s asking so many questions that seem to be just basic knowledge.

What I know is that you’re usually the black sheep on the first day, especially if you’re shy. I’m sitting here with two other girls who are around my age, and who are more or less from the same course, and yet I’m not consciously included in their conversation. Well, of course, that’s because their conversation is all about the work they have on hand, which is something that I would be doing in the future, but that’s not the task I have on hand right now.

My classmate is sitting outside, quite far from where I’m sitting. And I’m still not comfortable with walking around the office – it’s something I don’t think I’ll ever get used to, I think…

It feels like I’m free-loading, because everyone else seems to be really busy with other stuff – calls, typing, printing, moving around. Nice songs are being played on MyFM (played upstairs and downstairs in the office, at a fair volume), and it’s taking some effort not to sing along as I usually do.


Lunch was nice – new colleague Polly drove us out to the nearby area for mixed rice. From them, I noticed some of the company culture, and what would be the typical work pattern. One of the questions were how many days of vacation we would get for CNY, and we came to the conclusion that we would get a fair number of days, since the work place itself seemed very Chinese-friendly, with all the feng shui set up and all.

After lunch, I’m still more or less task-less – people are typing out emails to guests and calling people from a list, and I’m still sitting here.

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