Wednesday, May 14, 2008

My Summer Internship 2008

The company where I work for my internship is located at International Business Park. It's a much calmer place compared to my experience of working at Raffles Place, but there aren't many interns here. Sadly, that means having lunch by myself, or in the company of Gold 90.5 FM.

On my first day of work, the Managing Director for the Singapore office of my company joined me for lunch. I guess I didn't realize the kind of chit-chat I should have had with him at the time. I told him about how I was having trouble with getting on-campus accommodation and I laughed nervously when I told him how homeless I was - bunking-in at a different friend's place every night. I went on to explain to him how I was trying to appeal for accommodation and how simple it may be. He kept a listening ear and in the end of the discussion, he said in a stern voice, "Being homeless in Singapore is not funny".

I guess in the one week or so that I've been working here I have lost the impression I had made in my interview and now I am trying to work my ass off to prove myself.

The work they want me to do for them is boring at best, but I get to call all around the world in search of information. The work I want to do for them, and this they allow - even facilitate, is to write news stories for their publications.

My timings are 9:00 am to 5:30 and the lunch break is one hour, but they are very flexible. For instance, I'm not considered late as long as I arrive before 10:00 am. I can leave as early as 5:00 pm if I want, but that is not always possible if you haven't finished your work. As a new (and the only) intern, I don't have that much work, but it's building up gradually.

Compared to where I was working before - as a telemarketer at a call center selling loans and credit cards - the lunch break here is also flexible. You can take it any time you want - usually between 12:00 noon and 2:00 pm. (At my previous job, the lunch break was fixed from 1:00 pm to 2:00 and my boss would give me steam if I was even a minute late. My supervisor then went on to tell me that the break was in effect 50 minutes only.)

I can go out for a smoke whenever I want. I mean, I've never tried to abuse this because I value the luxury. For my call center job, there were two 15-minute breaks, which were awarded if you met your team goals. Often, there would be no break at all. In smokers' world, that was genocide.

Only yesterday I was going through a 4-hour AIESEC transition session (from the current to the new executive board - unfortunately I'm in both) and there was no break. I had dinner during the session and my nicotine level dropped rapidly. On top of it, I had coffee afterwards so I was dying for a cigarette. When the promised break was not 'awarded', I felt like killing someone. Let me tell you, this session was being held 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm, after a whole day of work (or in my case, a half-day of work that was followed by a rushed and hectic trip to the airport to drop my sister off as she left for Pakistan).

I hate it when non-smokers don't understand smokers. Or when they're not even half considerate. For us it's like denying a thirsty person water. Oh well. I won't bark.

I wrote this post in the time I saved in my lunch break today (it was raining and I had to run to the food court where I work). I've been carrying my umbrella everyday since my internship began. Today is the only time I wasn't carrying it and it's been raining all day. So typically unpredictable, this Singapore weather!

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