Monday, June 15, 2009

Back to work…it’s not quite like back to School

LGO internship is a pretty important and big part of the entire LGO experience. The first summer and fall are spent pondering what internships will be offered by the partner companies and if there’s one that you’ll really want… Domestic Plant Trek through Feb/Mid-March are spent preparing for the interviews (or trying to) and then hoping you’ll get one of the internships you want… then the rest of the Spring semester is spent in a whirlwind of activity to prepare for Internship. Then, suddenly, you show up at your first day of work and wonder what the heck you’ve got yourself into. Or, maybe that’s just how it happened for me…

Living in a country where I don’t speak the language… Check
Working in an industry that I have no background in… Check
Doing a project on topics that I’ve spent a lot of time studying in classes and had limited experience applying in “real life”… Check
I feel like there should be something that’s priceless here… but I think you can figure that out on your own. ;)

Anyway, I think the combination of all three of the things mentioned above have made the experience a bit overwhelming for me. I came from a job and company where I had become the person that knew it all (well, of course, not ALL, but a lot). I’d had the opportunity to have about 6 different roles and had learned a lot about both the manufacturing and business management details of building fighter airplanes. It was a pretty comfy place and even though I had some challenging assignments, I had built great relationships with my co-workers and I could always find someone to help me out. It has been a long time since I really started fresh… and, with school, you have instant friends because you’re all thrown into the same situation together. But, with work, especially some place where your culture is different, the language is different and you’re “THE INTERN” it’s an added challenge.

Things are coming along though. All of my co-workers are willing to help me, despite the fact that they are swamped with work. My officemate has even been helpful beyond work stuff and is teaching me some German, which is great!

And, I’m getting a grasp on my project and am really excited about it. I feel very lucky because both my supervisor and my project sponsor have expressed how glad they are to have me here and the importance of the project. It makes me feel good to know that I can/will have an impact on the organization and company. Warm Fuzzies! :) Plus, something that’s exciting (and also a bit dorky) is that as I am learning about my project, I am discovering that there are some things I learned about in school that are actually going to be useful in my project!! AND, there are also things that I did in my past work life that will be useful. So, as people talk about accruals and write-offs, I smile a bit inside about the A in accounting that I worked my butt off for during the fall. And, when people mention that they use SAP and Business Warehouse for data reporting, I am thankful I fumbled through it at NG so that it’ll be a bit more familiar now.

All in all, things are coming along. I’ll add a post about Life in Germany at some point in the near future… but, as a reminder, Drew and I are here together and as he usually does, he’ll be posting much more frequently than me… including lots of our traveling experiences, so check out his blog too!!