As I begin writing part two of my internship journey, I can’t believe how quickly time has gone by, before I know it I will be writing my last instalment for this blog. Six months ago I was embarking on a new life and career, filled with anxiety as to what would lie ahead. Filled with excitement but also a keen sense of the challenge that would lie ahead and the commitment that I have made to this challenge, not only for myself, but for those who love and care for me.
My year got off to a rocky start, I have learned how to bring back perspective to what is really important for me and my values, and how within these I balance an internship, a struggling thesis year, my health and wellbeing and being present for those that I love and who have been a driving force in my journey. Within this short six months journey that there are a few aspects that have boosted my internship from a tick-box exercise to a profound learning platform, shaping my future career as an Industrial Psychologist. These aspects are:
· Being agile in the face of uncertainties. Fortunately, life does not happen as it should and we are presented with curveballs and obstacles, these changes create opportunities and being agile in the face of them allowed me to learn and grow in different directions and move closer to the authentic me.
· Start living with the ‘end in mind’, a lesson I learned from Stephen Covey’s
‘7 Habits session for highly effective people’, training at Omnicor.
· Be open-minded and open yourself up to exploring new things. At Omnicor we promote employee health and wellbeing through a mindfulness practice, ‘Mindfulness Mondays’. On my first day in mindfulness, I thought, this is mindfulness madness, the inner me enjoyed it, but all I could think was that we had waisted twenty minutes of our time, twenty minutes that could have been spent ‘performing’. Now, six months in, I have not missed a mindfulness session and my openness to the practice has allowed me to be more present and in many ways higher performing.
· Ask as many questions as you can. An internship is your opportunity to learn and to build your knowledge within the field, coming from a consulting background, with experiences behind me, I was cautious to show that I did not know, but I soon learned that this was my time to not know and my time to build up my knowledge and my own scientific insight into my field.
· Be organised and committed to the process. An internship is a process that requires that you arrange, coordinate, run and manage your own time as well as specific activities and tasks that need to be completed, this is only possible if you remain organised and on top of your game. The commitment that you put into the internship year begins to pay-off quickly, as within my journey, after quarter one I was overwhelmed with how much I had actually learned that my report came to a whoping 60 pages (completely unnecessary, always ask your supervisor what they want to see within your report).
· Pace yourself. It is not easy to be and to do all, focus your time and energy on where it is needed, and be mindful of the toss-up between completing your Master’s degree before your internship begins or completing them alongside each other. I underestimated the time and commitment needed to complete both at the same time and perhaps focusing your energy on one task allows you to be far more present and engaged on the task at hand.
· Remember to enjoy the experience, it is easy to become overwhelmed and to lose yourself within the process, balancing a Master’s degree and an internship is tough, but it, in my experience, is a pivotal journey that will push you beyond what you thought you were capable of and will allow you to shape your own identity as a psychologist.
We do not always know where our careers will lead. In a short six months my ideas and goals for the next few years have completely changed. It is good to set goals, and to have an end in mind but we must remain open to new opportunities and directional shifts.
Kübler-Ross published her seminal work On Death and Dying in 1969, which detailed the different psychological stages that individuals experience when confronted with profound change. The stages that she identified include Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and finally Acceptance. This does seem quite dramatic when we place it in the context of a career change, and we might not like to admit this, but we do confront some or all of these stages when changing our careers, jobs, employers and even our work teams, whether this change was from our own devices or that which is thrust upon us.
When walking into a new career and working environment, as I have; it is easy to pressurise oneself to change, and to do this effortlessly, without a hitch. We have to make a good impression to ourselves, our new boss and those watching, right? We must also adapt into the culture of our new organisations and teams, sometimes, and within my case, completely different cultures, a relative ‘culture shock’.
Adjusting to a new organisational culture is difficult and requires…
How to adjust to a new organisational culture
· Give yourself time to adjust, change is tough but so are you.
· Try new things, be open to exploring
· Be flexible and openminded
· Ask for open and honest feedback
If you are interested to learn how your organisation’s culture impacts your employees, contact me Amelia@Omnicor.co.za for an Omnicor Talent Engagement Survey.