Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I'm Officially Attached

... to a company named Schering Plough (merged with Merck & Co., Inc.), for my internship next semester (July - December). It's going to be a LONG, LONG, semester. I won't be able to spend Christmas at home! That's the worst part of it all. Better hope this learning experience is worth it.

I won't blog too much about the company, either now or in the future, because I know it's good practice to keep your work life private as much as you can in the blogsphere so I'm adhering to that. But I really want to tell about my interview yesterday, so here goes.

My interview was scheduled to be 10.30 in the morning, but I needed to prepare early because according to GoThere.Sg, the trip is 88 minutes long. And this is the distance I have to travel everyday to work in Tuas. It was raining (or rather pouring) cats and dogs then, and my small umbrella was no match for the mighty rain. I hastily put on a skirt instead of my long pants, because I anticipated what it was going to be like to have the foot of my pants all wet. Nothing could save my poor shoes though. They were utterly drenched. I cabbed part of the way there and it cost me $8 ++.

My interviewer was the lady whom I'm supposed to work under and she had just finished seeing another candidate (a guy). There was this stack of candidate applicant lists on the table and there was mine (with my very ugly passport photo) on the top.

This lady really knows how to put an interviewee at ease. She got me to tell more of myself than I initially planned to, and she got me to trust her and even reveal a number of my shortcomings honestly. She was also very sensitive towards the needs of an intern, having worked with several in the past years. She knew exactly what she wanted, and even told me in advance the challenges, conflicts and problems I might be facing in the future, to make sure that I won't regret after getting the job. After all, being stuck for 6 months in a position you don't like is really very undesirable.

After the interview itself, I did not know its outcome (she mentioned that she had yet another student coming to be interviewed), but I was very much at ease. Firstly, I knew I made a good impression (she seemed like she liked me); Secondly, I learned it was right to be honest in interviews to ensure good person-job-fit; and Thirdly, I wasn't as hard up for an internship as before. In fact, I didn't really think I'd get a job in this company as it was a large company and I am (ahem) relatively unconfident when it comes to academics. (Note that this feeling only applies in Singapore. Gah.) The whole reason I came to the interview was to just look at the interior of the company and get a feel of what its like. Also, many interview experiences do help when it comes to the real thing next time.

Anyway, in the evening, I got an email from the NUS Industrial Attachment department which said that they are taking me in as an intern. Yay!

I could just imagine my life next semester. Wake up at 5 plus am. Board bus at 6.20 am. Work starts at 8 and ends at 5. Traveling takes an hour plus. And I have night classes from 6-9 pm two days a week. Fortunately my work is a 5 day week, so I do have my weekends to myself. It's going to be very tiring after this rather slack semester of mine. But then again, this is indeed the time I learn to overcome my physical tiredness when it comes to working, be disciplined, learn to handle long distances, stress, and learn to communicate with people, especially my superiors. I think the learning experience would be great. The only sad thing is I'm forced to compromise spending my holidays at home. And I can't go back between May-June also because of FYP. I hope I do have time to go back a bit more because my FYP isn't in a very ideal state now.

I remember my interview from Company X last year, which, for reasons not documented here for the sake of the company's privacy, I left because of personal issues. The mindset I had for interview was very different from the ones I had this year. At that time, I was desperate to get a job. This time, I was willing to take up more modules instead if I can't get an attachment, instead of getting stuck in job I couldn't learn anything from. It seemed that the second attitude yielded more positive results. I could be more honest to potential employers, and just tell them all I am capable of and NOT capable of, to let them decide if hiring me is the best option.

I'm also very grateful to the company I mentioned in my previous blog entry, who offered to let me do research work. I had to decline the offer now (and I hate doing that), but at least through this experience, it showed that CAP was not really everything, at least when it comes to internships. I don't know what it is in the real working world though. But I thank God for my two interviewers who were so kind enough to believe in me and accept me as an intern. They just gave me so much more hope for the future, at least in this stage.

So now it's up to me to wrap up this current semester nicely and go all out in the last few weeks before exams. :) Next semester will be totally different, and there will be many new fears I have to face. I feel so apprehensive, yet so hopeful. As always, God will be there to guide me through.

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