Monday, May 20, 2013

Reflection

This semester at Swinburne University of Technology, I undertook Project A which is essentially a unit which allows students to gain work experience in their field of interest or to start an independent project. As I took Project B last semester, I have a good understanding of what Project A entails as they have identical unit outlines. The only difference is that Project A is available in the first semester of the year, and Project B the second semester.

Since I pursued a collaboration for Project B, I decided to go for the second option of gaining work experience for Project A. I contacted Nuffnang Australia and expressed my interest in interning with them as I was hoping to be able to become more involved with Australia's blogging scene and also to experience a professional environment.

David Krupp, the country manager, got in touch with me and scheduled an interview. As their office is in Prahran, I decided to go right after my class ended to scope out the area so I would not end up lost and late. Doing so allowed me to be confident I would be on time for the interview and minimize the pressures of going for the interview. Going in at 2pm was rather nerve wrecking as I have never been to an interview before and I was extremely conscious about making a good first impression. However, David was very easy going and chatted with me casually. I gave him my timetable and he said that he would be in touch.

Looking back on the interview, although I secured the internship, I think that I could have better prepared myself by going for the free interview practice sessions at Swinburne. It would have given me a better idea of what to expect from an interview. Furthermore, I was rather quiet as I did not know proper interview etiquette. I was afraid I might say or do something inappropriate, so I kept my answers short and limited my questions.

About a week after the interview, he emailed me and we worked out which days were best for me. We settled for Mondays and Fridays from 11am-5:30pm.

I was very excited about the prospect of working in an office and getting the opportunity to meet new people outside of my social circle. I was well looked after and everything I was asked to do were very task specific so I did not feel unsure or confused.

The environment Nuffnang provided was rather casual. While everyone was expected to contribute to the company in a professional manner, the importance of balance between work and pleasure was understood. Therefore, during my internship, I had the opportunity to get to know everyone over lunch and a few drinks.

Although I tried my best to complete all the tasks set out for me within the day itself, to treat my internship as a real job with real obligations and responsibilities (meaning no procrastination, getting to work on time, keeping superiors informed about situations - eg. unable to make it to work due to sickness or if I am going to be late with an acceptable reason), I felt that there must have been something I could have done to make the experience more worthwhile. But reflecting upon it now, perhaps the expectations I set for what I would get out of the internship was too unrealistic.

I suppose it is hard to limit one's expectations when there is no prior experience. All I had to build my expectations on were movies I have watched and friends who are already in the media industry workforce. Despite knowing that movies glamorize everything, my expectations still fell short. I had thought that big events and parties were part and parcel of any employment in the media circle. Project A and Nuffnang gave me the opportunity to experience office life and helped me better understand what I want from a job, which would aid me in finding a better suited career for me once I graduate. Although events and parties are definitely a plus to any job, I have decided that I would much rather have a non-office job as working in an office is not for me. I found that working in an office environment is rather dull. Although the people are all very pleasant to work with and I was able to distract myself by changing tasks every half an hour, I want to be able to experience something new frequently, if not every day. I do not like the stability that an office job entails, or the fixed routine. The experience reminded me that the reason I chose to study media and communications was because I wanted to escape having to get a 9 to 5 job "when I grew up".

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