I find it hard to believe that I can already look back on 5 weeks of work here. But it is however true, so it’s about time to do just that.
Just to tick off the clichéd life philosophy for this post right away: All beginnings are difficult. I have once again experienced how true this is here. But since this internship is by far not my first job, I already know: This paralyzing feeling of overload, this “I have no idea what I’m doing” and not knowing where or how to start a task doesn’t last for long.
After having finished the Mexico list I have already mentioned in my first internship report, I did eventually have to start the Indonesia list. I had already taken a glance at it on my first day – and closed it again right away. Too many colors, too many lines, too many columns, too much information, simply too much EVERYTHING. Expect for structure – because that’s what I should be adding to the whole thing. But it wasn’t only this spreadsheet that I had to find my way through. It was a whole, to me completely new world.
First of all, I’m working for a company that only operates online. It runs several websites where people can book surfcamps or find internships. So it’s a specialized online travel agency on the one hand and a job placement agency on the other. The work is done by the owner of the company and the support of 2-3 interns. There is a small office which is however hardly used. The collaboration and communication is organized via Google Drive, e-mail and Skype. Time and place of work can mostly be chosen independently.
Sounds like a lot of freedom. And it is. But what a lot of freedom brings along is a lot of responsibility. And what a lot of responsibility brings along is a lot of decisions. And even if they seem yet so minor, they have to be made and consume energy. Energy, that in a “normal” job where you “simply” go to the same office at the same time every day, may be used elsewhere.
Second of all, despite the fact that it isn’t even really one, this is my first office job. I don’t mind being on my feet for ten hours or more, running back and forth with all kinds of food and drinks. But what the waitress inside of me (and pretty much everything else I am) really can’t do is to just sit still for hours. So back pain and troubles concentrating were pretty much inevitable and it wasn’t for long before I had to deal with those struggles.
I somehow didn’t only have to structure some spreadsheets, but my whole life here. Where and when should I work? How should I organize my day to be as productive as possible? What am I going to do with my sitting-problem? Countless questions that I had to become aware at first in order to then be able to find answers to them.
Step by step, the answers to these questions fell into place and created a mosaic that can be called an every-day life. I have identified my most productive times and use them regarding the priorities of my tasks. I have found my working café and already get my soy cappuccino served without having to order it. And when I have reached my daily dose of caffeine, I have a pretty long list of other places I can work at uninterruptedly. Changing locations and combining it with a short walk, a quick HIIT workout or a little yoga session every now and then also made my back pain go away.
By now, the Indonesia list is history and my new boyfriend (Excel) and I have worked our way all around the globe. From New Zealand over South Africa to Mexico – we’ve been everywhere. At least according to my Google search history. (Very interesting to watch how the research for work affects my Facebook newsfeed, btw.)
We don’t need to plan our stopovers anymore. We just stroll from one region (column) to the next. Every step (click) happens automatically. And every distance covered (every list finished) is a little success.
It feels a bit like tidying up your apartment. Of course you don’t feel like doing it at first. But you see the necessity, so you overcome your laziness and just start. Once you’ve managed to begin, it all somehow happens automatically. And then you find a thousand tiny extra things you want to get done “quickly”. You lose yourself a little, jumping from one task to the other. Until you get to the point where you have used up all your motivation. So you take a little break and then simply finish what you’ve started.
And then, this moment when you look around and realize, that it is actually pretty nice when everything is in order and where it’s supposed to be. When you’re pleased with what you’ve done and inwardly nod your head in acknowledgement of your own work. THIS is the feeling I get when I send another e-mail, saying: “List XY is done.”