This time last year I embarked on the leg of my journey towards reaching my dream, a career change that would result in me completing an Industrial Psychology degree. What remained was the year of my internship. As I write the last instalment of the blog and reflect on this year, it’s hard to believe it’s all over. I am thrilled to report it has been a resounding success.
What surprised me?
#1. The full impact of active learning:
Having previously worked as a consultant, I assumed that my internship year would merely be a formality, a tick-box exercise. Well, that myth was quickly debunked because it has been an incredible experience of career development and self-discovery.
I have explored each aspect of Industrial Psychology, finding those areas that inspire and excite me and those that I could live without. Our university lecturer, Prof Meiring always used to say that an internship is a luxury which allows one to sample all the modalities in the field, and also make mistakes and ask many, many questions.
“TELL ME AND I FORGET. TEACH ME AND I REMEMBER. INVOLVE ME AND I LEARN.” –BENJAMIN FRANKLIN. “
#2. Arguably more significant, this internship has provided me with experiences that confirm for me that this is the work I am called to do, not just a job. I appreciate how my consulting experience provided the foundation I would need to make this drastic change.
#3. Collecting data is hard! It has been more of a challenge than I anticipated, with multiple delays and bottlenecks along the way. Initially the delays triggered my default mode of “ just try harder”, and then came the panic and stress but with all the new skills I have learned I soon realised that this was out of my control and needed to be completed early by 2019. My reaction to the derailment was the most surprising of all. I had managed to fundamentally take the internal locus of control route, since external locus of control is the topic of my research, the irony was not lost on me! You can help me by completing my research survey, please email me Amelia@omnicor.co.za and I will send you the link
#1. Early on, I had decided it would be crucial for me to bring my full self to the internship, which included contributing all my consulting experience I had gained, while proactively picking up all the new skills I needed, my aim was not to wait for the formal lesson per se, but to research and read up on projects I had never been involved with. I always approached the work with a tentative and curious attitude.
#2. Some examples of these projects or tasks include; Scrum – I was invited to be the team’s Scrum Master and having never worked with this methodology I had to learn quickly. I really enjoyed it from the start and I soon learned why I was a perfect fit for the role. I am naturally a highly structured and organised person, and the agile approach helped me deliver and meet all the deadlines required.
#3. I participated in everything I could even if some of the experiences seemed foreign, from Mindfulness sessions and Work out Wednesdays to all the internal training opportunities on offer. I found volunteering for special projects invaluable too. Soon I was on the Occupational Health and Safety committee, a host for the Mindfulness sessions and even writing this blog. In the end, I believe this immersive approach is what contributed in part to me building warm relationships across the business and ultimately why I was offered a permanent position at Omnicor just 6 months into my internship. Which is something I am very proud of and thrilled about.
# 4. Finding health in my internship — my overall health and wellness have finally been prioritised which has resulted in me getting back on track with taking care of myself. The culture at Omnicor allows for flexibility and encourages work-life integration. This gave me the permission I needed to make these profound changes, during a year I thought would not allow for that in the least.
Supervisors, Mentors and the like
My internship programme required many checks and balances, reports to write, experiences to be had and article reviews to be handed in. The consistent support of my supervisors Prof Olckers and Prof Meiring kept me motivated and on track. The combination of their years of experience and absolute dedication to my success has had a significant impact on my year. Internally, the Omnicor team treated me with respect and trusted me to take full responsibility for having the best internship possible. I was invited to participate in a wide variety of projects and my input was taken seriously.
My new role as HR and Change Manager at Omnicor is the next exciting step along my career journey. It presents new opportunities to learn and take on the huge responsibility of taking care of the very team that opened their hearts to me a year ago. My thesis and board exams await in 2019, but if I have learned nothing about myself this year, my determination, self-management and new-found tentativeness, is enough!
Thank you for following my journey with me this year. I have had a wonderful response, including a speaking invitation at the Pearson Institute and many students looking for inspiration and guidance.
If you are embarking on your internship embrace it! If you would like to chat more please feel free to reach out to me @Amelia@omnicor.co.za