One more tea and I may not leave

In England by Eller Student

These last few weeks of work, I’ve felt like Cinderella at my-wardrobe.com. No, I did not get handed glass slippers and Prince Harry did not pay a visit. This was pre-fairy godmother status—I cleaned windows, I was locked up in storage closets, I fixed broken scanners… it was truly the definition of being on the very bottom of the hierarchy. But as I learned in class from Trompenaar’s Virtuous Circle, “we need humility and humor” in the workplace, especially in British culture. I believe I fully embraced my role as an unpaid intern throughout this experience and accepted that there were a variety of things I didn’t know. For example, how to properly wrap gift boxes. When given the task recently, I faced it head-on. My first attempt was a huge crumpled ball of the delicate stamped company paper; I apologized to my co-worker with admittance that I was horrible at doing anything remotely domestic. I asked her to re-wrap just one, observed, and tried to emulate with the other boxes. Learning is innovation. I wrapped and wrapped those boxes until they looked like they were from Santa’s elves. The Honey and Mumford learning styles test revealed that I am a pragmatist, which makes sense because I learn by experiencing things hand-on and solve problems by taking logical approaches. Through this internship, I’ve discovered that there will be times when I need to think outside of the (gift) box and use resilience to power through various challenges.

By being a member of the PR team, I observed how effective My-wardrobe was in securing press opportunities to publicize the image of the company. As for the efficiency of the British workplace, I noticed aspects that could easily be improved upon in the synchronic office. I stepped in as receptionist for the day when my team realized after 20 successive phone calls one morning that the desk assistant had gone on holiday. Employees are always stepping in for others that are gone even if they are not skilled in that area or department, which makes sense for the small size of the company, yet possibly hindersome and counter-productive. As I mentioned in my organisational analysis, I really would recommend an automatic switchboard for My-wardrobe. All the extension numbers I was given were wrong and several employees have left the company, making it difficult to connect customers to the desired employees. I still was overwhelmed with culture shock after nearly two months of being here when I didn’t understand British accents and phrases on the line. I also can’t answer anyone correctly when they ask me “are you alright?” Yes, I’m fine—I’m actually great. I fell in LOVE with London and overall, I had a great very first internship experience at my-wardrobe.com. After some adaptation to the London workplace and lifestyle, I could definitely see myself living and working here.