By Sachin R Kulkarni
A while ago, I was told of an opportunity to showcase my writing in the form of an article for UniLife Magazine about the first time I experienced a work placement. I spent hours crafting a literary masterpiece, but a feeling of disconnection came over me. I decided to send my first draft off to its Home Sweet Home – the trash bin – and started again..
At the end of November, desperately waiting for holidays, I felt freedom swarming to my doorstep. But, just like it occurs in countless TV dramas, a hunger to learn remained. Four weeks of group work with one of my closest friends, an opportunity to venture into the realm of project management, and the desire to constantly work myself hard lured me into accepting a work placement block in December.
Running in this sweltering sun, the knight – me – finally reached his newly built castle – the office. Being a very open-minded student, I had gone into the company with no preconceived notions about the state of the office. But I can guarantee it would have fallen short of anybody’s expectations. Every computer, if they did turn on, ran Windows 98 at the pace of a lazy snail. The irony? It was a firm that produced advanced software packages. As if that wasn’t enough, this is how my first day and almost every day of work placement went …
In the pixie-sized room of Mr. CEO, eight enthusiastic and dedicated students occupied every piece of carpet available. Then I emerged with a chair and a confused expression adorning my face. Without delay, room was made for me, and the meeting commenced.
Words flew across the room with rising enthusiasm increasing volume and a sense of challenge filling the air … wait … no. Not really.
What should have been considered interactive fell short of participation. Constant interruption that went on for what seemed like hours was the main content of the ‘meeting’.Mr. CEO’s unilateral thought giving was advice, not a discussion.
With meetings like this, computers that didn’t work, and a desk that constantly ejected the draws like the ones in not-so-freaky horror movies, the entire environment seemed polluted with problems. How was one supposed to work?
The truth is, while there were problems, the even bigger problem was my attitude. Consider the same aspects this way: a CEO taking time to explain to his students the ways of business, despite his busy schedule; a firm that was struggling to use those few old computers yet still emerging as a successful maker of software packages. Yes, my friends, the problem was neither the office, nor the computers; the problem was inside my head.
In retrospect it may seem easy to reflect on it, but I spent four weeks with the wrong perception, in the wrong mood, doing the wrong work. But the only moment of satisfaction remains the moment when I realised the job wasn’t the reason for the jeopardy, it was me. And by laying my experience out in words, this positive thought found its way to my consciousness.
So, I hope you all keep a positive lens to your eyes and turn problems into opportunities, not jeopardy. Never another job jeopardy again.