The Summer Holidays, coupled with work experience…

4 Jul

  So after months of high-strung tension and late-night homework, it’s all over. The IGCSEs are over. What stands looming in front of us innocent, unassuming students is the monstrous form of the IB, the International Baccalaureate, official destroyer of free time and good sleep. Still encompassed in our post-IGCSE and pre-result bliss, we’re having too good a time to think about that. But the time will come, and we will cower.

  I wish I could say that I’m having a thoroughly relaxing summer holiday, complete with iced coffees, chocolate chip cookies and nice couches (not to mention 24/7 air conditioning), but sadly that is not the case. What IS the case, though, is a job/internship at Company XYZ, forcing me to get up at the ungodly hour of 7 (okay, better than school days, but still) and back home at 7 p.m. But I cannot complain. Why? For I have signed up for this myself, in the quest for a fulfilling, or at least somewhat productive summer. Too many holidays I have wasted roaming the house, reluctant to go on the Internet for fear that I may never switch my laptop off again for the remainder of the day. Too many holidays I have spent bemoaning my fate as I face the piano, my brain refusing to co-operate.

  Um, so is this my cue to quote that poem ‘The Raven’ and go, “Nevermore!” ?

  But that is besides the point. The work experience lasts one month for me, from 27th June to…25th?I think–July. My post-IGCSE relaxation consists of working 8 hours a day for no pay. If I didn’t know for myself how tedious and boring my summer holidays could be, I would consider this decision more-than-borderline masochistic. My daily routine now consists of waking up at 7, leaving home at 8, taking the metro and arriving after a 10-min walk at 9. And although I’m supposed to be done at 5, I sometimes wait until the others leave at 6. For those of you who are itching to get a job, let me say that it’s a lot less fun than expected. Sure, for the first week you feel all awesome and ‘grown-up’, but it becomes as much of a burden as school. More, even, considering that it’s the holidays and everyone’s out having fun. Doing buggerall, as some people would say. The temptation!

  Don’t mistake this entry for complaint. Despite everything, this is pretty much worth it. What I think though is that it gets pretty obvious that so-called friendships in the workplace are by no means comparable to friendships at school. This is probably not the best advice, coming from a  intern (with a one-week experience), but I think that it’s pretty obvious here that those with lesser statuses sort of suck up to those with higher statuses. And I don’t mean just during work time, but also when they go out. And I have something resembling evidence to back me up…

  On Saturday R invited two co-workers and me to go to She Shan (佘山) with her Samoyed dog C and then go shopping at Outlets. Naturally, I went. The two (N and L), who held lower positions, would say nice things to R (to make her happy) and go along (only seemingly willingly) with her decisions. Having no particular need to shop, I entertained myself at Outlets by being with the dog, sitting on a shady bench and reading my book while they browsed. By the end of the day, R acquired two shopping bags while the others got nothing (one of them complained to me privately that the shops R browsed in were too expensive for them–thus confirming my thoughts on the boss-worker status. Difference in payment -> difference in taste). What I deduct from this is that workplace acquaintances may mean just that; that these people are merely acquaintances, not friends. So I sit here at my desk, with these three people around me, and I continue to observe. To me, though, this is the kind of experience that I am looking for–to see how people communicate with others in the workplace, and how it differs from relationships at school. To me it is interesting.

  And in the office apart from ours sits L, and the boss–R. I like Lthe best, I think. She’s Asian, but she says she’s from London and has the accent to prove it. I like her outgoing personality–the kind of person who manages to be warm, personal, friendly and yet also businesslike at the same time. Dude, there’s my role model….hahaha!

  Besides being a creep and observing my co-workers (I’m kidding. I’m no creep.), I’m kept busy translating documents, typing things up, doing the odd job on editing a document and also translating their official webpage. And that webpage, no lies here, is a pain. Everything’s in picture format, which means that I have to do layers on it, resave it as another picture and fit it back in to see if it’s okay. I’m being driven crazy with that. And I do answer the odd phone call, picking it up and then transferring it to the intended recipient (answer-er?). Nothing particularly exciting, but it’s enough. During lunch I have a 10-kuai allowance, allowing me to buy next to nothing in terms of lunch, but I guess that’s what I agreed to and it’s what I’ll have to stick with.

  So maybe this summer isn’t among the most relaxing, but I’m happier in the knowledge that what I’ve slaved away (overstatement of the century) learning in school will be put to use in later life (e.g. jobs). It’s certainly motivation to actually learn the stuff. And although I’ll have to find extra pocket money (salary!) elsewhere (and almost certainly at some other time, e.g. next year), I’ll have this to back me up.

  It wouldn’t do to have them know that I’m also doing all this blogging stuff during working hours. Haha!

  But until the end of July draws near and I have time to myself again, I’ll make the most out of this, try to fool people about my age (N thought I was a new recruit) and enjoy myself.

  So. Back to work! xD


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