On Chief's Good Grace

Back in my schooling years, I love my internship. Internship in Singapore is different from others in some ways. In Singapore's context, we are still working on trying to make it as relevant as possible since it's right of passage for tertiary education students. The system is being overhauled with new initiatives as there were cases where student's job only go as far as making coffee and doing copies. Despite being in an organisation related to subject of study!

The lack of structured hands-on training being enforced somehow makes some of us useless and incompetent. It would be hard to be on the hot seat, cooking up stories and glorifying how making copies was actually part of your learning journey. Much LOLs to that.

However, this minute problem shouldn't deter our overseas friends taking up Singapore internship programmes. With much effort, there are quality internships out there. You just need to do your homework!

Some countries may not even have internship Singapore has in terms of quality - especially when it comes to industries like finance for instance.

Internship can either be a bane, or an opportunity to get out of day to day lecture routine.

No matter how bad your internship can get, fret not. Know that it's temporary! There are some survival skills that you can pick up along the way. I think it is great to do these things to get assimilated quickly into the organisation culture. Wouldn't want to be the blur one, would you?

While most lament to being labeled an intern, it is kinda the safest position in an organisation. How high a responsibility are you allowed to you hold?

You should find out about the company that you are working with, even if you care less about what they do because your ultimate goal was just to get an A and a commendable appraisal. It is always helpful to read up about the company you are in, be aware of what your company really does, not what is it all about. All companies are about making money and being sustainable - unless you're money laundering! A company does not only want to achieve their financial goals, but their brand equity too. Louis Vuitton's goal is not only to maximise its luxury market share, but to ensure their leather bags last for eternity. H&M is not only about following fast moving fashion trends, but to make it available to everyone at the best price. Knowing them does not only add substance to your story but also shows your keen interest in assimilating yourself to the soul of the company.

Next, you should talk and make friends with as many people in the company as possible. You're doing it for several good reasons. It helps you to find out how a company is actually doing compared to what they claim, or how the public see them. Being an intern is like being on a homestay in an exchange programme. It's a little bit like staying in a stranger's family only now it's given a proper name - the company. So, if there's a family problem, you'll sure sniff one. Which is why, don't be surprised to why some companies actually do not take in interns - not because they do not need energetic and cheap labours, but there are some things going on that are too sensitive for anyone to know. Knowing the people in the company also helps you sieve out the ones not worth working with. Not all of your best colleagues are the best lunch buddies and vice versa. Much weighting to do on that! It plays a huge role in making your internship either gratifying or unenjoyable.

You too must be the good intern! Some bosses know when you are interested in your internship or not. It's easy to tell so if you are not going to like the internship, your boss might probably ignore you too. Downside, you're just wasting your time because your internship allowance won't do justice. You're better off getting to the good side of your boss because you'd probably need them for future reference! One way to do this is to take initiative, and do as much as you can without being told. Learn about processes, and think of how you can apply what you have learnt in the office in life. You may not agree but I opine that whatever you have learnt from the book is never current. Like technology, you can never keep up with knowledge!

You need to realize how important internship is as part of your learning journey. It puts you in a simulation of corporate life. So, if you are going to be the only student in a company, be grateful because you will be alone when you graduate too. Unless you are in some sort of fraternity where you have sworn to get the same job as the rest of your bros, you are really alone.

On a more personal note, the log book (if you don't have, create one!) is important for you. Not only it lists down all the things you do. It will be your corporate primer because you may not grasp everything when you were doing your internship. Once you graduate and have broader mind you will then understand the things you didn't which can help you master the art of surviving the dog eats dog world.

Whether your life in that company will make you cry buckets or your laugh echo, it should make you look back one day and agree what I've said made sense. Touche?

Till then, hope you enjoyed my penned thoughts! Remember to follow me on my social media Instagram and Twitter at @muhdzulfadli for latest updates. See you there!

The photographs were shot in conjunction with my home project discussion. Special thanks to those who contributed in the production of these wonderful photos!

Location: Silverfox Studios
Co-model: Amin Ayub
Photographer: Harris