I had the interesting experience of switching my internship halfway through the program. After just a week at my new placement I can already see the shocking differences between what I have and can learn. For one, my original placement was a typical cubical office space. The hours were 9-6, you took your lunch from 12-1, and were assigned your daily tasks. It felt like a routine, one that I didn’t want to be a part of.
I had never wanted to be in a job so corporate like, I prefer the creativity over the stability. Everything was set in a hierarchy, any change in marketing had to be overseen by multiple heads before even the consideration of the idea. The cubicle, the white desk, the bright logo of the company illuminating my screen in the morning, was nothing short of depressing for me. This being said, it is not the reason I switched. I switched because after three weeks of being told I can help with marketing, I was constantly given nothing and spent eight hours wasting time. I would catch myself looking at the time and thinking.
“It’s only 2:34.”
It was frustrating to see the office space so busy, yet having nothing to be busy with.
Then I switched my placement. It wasn’t a corporate office anymore, it was a shared office space filled with plants, windows, and areas that promote open discussions. I didn’t work 9-6 anymore, with a scheduled time for lunch, I come in when I want and leave when I am done. This means if 7 comes around and my work is not done then I am staying till it is. There is less structure in this new work, so much is all over the place, but everything you work on is vital to the company. In order to do well here you have to work with a team, generating ideas, working alongside people, and best, taking a break when needed. I spend the day in my own schedule, the work load varying, one night I looked at time and thought.
“It’s already 8:20.”
It’s rewarding to be so caught up in a project that time passes by.
There’s perks and set backs in each type of office. Before even coming to China I was torn between a corporate job v. a smaller startup type of work atmosphere. In corporate you get the fancy galas, the tall building, the stability of knowing when your day starts and ends but you give up a lot to. It is harder to make a change, or have your voice be heard due to all the levels and positions already in place. For a startup/agency like environment you can make and see a change, offices are structured to influence creativity, but because you work on project based work you can stay long nights in the office. If something isn’t finished there’s no CEO that gets the hit, its on you. This internship has allowed me to experience both, the perks and the setbacks.
~On a different note, a fond memory I have from China so far has to be this one night. A few friends and I were in the apartments, talking, laughing, sipping on wine and then someone got hungry. We debated a bit about what would be open at 12 in the morning, we decided on the ever handy cup of noodles.
“Do you think street pot is open,” someone asked.
We all walked outside, half hesitant to be venturing out but also curious to see the empty streets. The night was a bit warmer then usual and we were all more so or less in pajamas. Someone rented a bike and rode around, taking turns giving people rides. We acted stupid on the streets, dancing, group hugging, riding bikes, and eating the street pot (yes, it was open). The streets were quiet, a few locals were also eating and watching us fool around.
It’s certain nights like these that happen so randomly, the unplanned ones that stick in your mind. It makes you feel alive and aware. One month in and dancing in the streets with people who were strangers one month before.