As I am nearing the end of my second co-op (or internship) here at Ideba, I have been reflecting on my time with the company: my successes, areas for improvement, and my progress since my last co-op term. Something that came up recently was the idea that my position is quite different from those of my peers at other companies. For example, I have never made a photocopy or organized a filing cabinet (at least partially due to the fact that we all work remotely). Until recently I’d only met two members of the team in person, which is pretty uncommon for students like myself. A big difference is the constantly changing variety of tasks and projects. While I enjoy the variety of tasks and the dynamic nature of the company, it makes it surprisingly hard to articulate exactly what it is I do. Luckily, my university is just happy I’m employed and can give them a list of things I’ve done. However, my friends and family are less easily satisfied and each answer or explanation I give is met with a follow up question. I recently learned that this issue has plagued some of my colleagues as well, so I don’t expect it to go away anytime soon.
But, I’ve realized that this ambiguity is exactly what I like about working here. While it would be a lot easier to explain my position to others if I did the same things day in and day out, I’m grateful that that is not the case. It certainly can be a challenge to not know exactly what you’re going to do each day in precise detail, but I appreciate being able to feel like I’m actually being useful and contributing, something that is often missing from co-op positions suggested to myself and my peers.
There’s a lot of talk in my degree program about workplace culture and how to create or foster the right one for a given company. Obviously, this is more easily said than done, especially when a team is spread across a continent. Personally, I’m impressed with the culture that’s been built at Ideba, and I think the dynamic nature of each team members’ work, and the company overall, plays into that. While too much ambiguity can be a problem, so can having every last detail laid out for you. Having the right amount of pressure to perform with just enough leeway to make things uncomfortable at times is a tough balance to strike, but I believe it’s that mix that has given me the most opportunity to learn.
Does your company have a unique culture or way of doing things? We’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject.
–Perri Read, Junior Consultant