The Five Most Valuable Lessons I've Learned During My Internship

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Prologue: I don't know what the hell just happened, but my other notes have been magically deleted. Scumbag Facebook. So, to commemorate my displeasure, I've coined two words: (1) Celineism (se-lee-nee-sum); noun; any observation, wisdom, belief, etc. held by me. (2) Celineist (se-leen-nist); noun; anyone who agrees with me; adj.; anything that refers to me. (Yes, I'm that full of myself.) Now, carry on.

I know this is a bit late, but when somebody said you can write whatever you want, I assumed that there's an implied whenever there somewhere. So, there.

Anyway, I'm dreading the end of my college life. I dread it because the moment some "important" person hands me my diploma, things will start to get real. I mean, real real. Wait, wait. Allow me to explain myself. (Ahem. As you know, what I lack in subtlety, I more than make up for in clarity.)

What I'm trying to say here is that in no less than a month, my life would be transformed into a swirling vortex of confusion, hassle, stress, resumes, unreturned phone calls, job offers, responsibilities, power, debts, lies, pretense, brown-nosing, unjust compensation, and everything in between. I sense some of you will be sneering. "Bitch, please", some will even exclaim. But, in the grand scheme of things, you know I'm telling the truth. Denial is not just a river in Egypt. (See what I did there?)

I had my share of apathy and IDGAFs. And I love it. Love, love, love it. Whenever I can afford to be lazy, I will be. But you see, even an immortal, such as myself, believes it is wise not to ignore the order of things. One of the greatest weakness of the human race is that we suffer from the vice of renouncing Change, only to wake up one day with Change's callused hand slapping us right in the face. As the great Niccolo Machiavelli once said: before all else, be armed.

Now, on to the raison d'être of this note.

Last November, I had my 500-hour internship somewhere I prefer not to mention. (Although, come to think of it, a lot of people already know where. So, I guess the anonymity has been rendered moot. But, moving on.) I'm not saying I didn't like this experience but I'm not saying I liked it either. It's like Schrodinger's Cat. Well, sort of.

At any rate, yeah, I had my internship. My professors swear that it's a preparation for the real world. I think it's an unnecessary burden, like math. (I'm shrugging my shoulders. Just in case you needed visual stimulation.)

So, during the almost four-month production of Celine the Intern, I learned quite a number of things. (I can hear Nikki, Witty, Abby, Jhe, and Rudy derisively shouting, "Photocopying! Awesome!") But noooooo, I'm referring to useful things. At least, I think they're useful. Well, enough dilly-dallying. Here they are:

 1.) Some people will underestimate your ability to handle bad news.
This one's pretty straightforward. Out there in the corporate world, there are people who will NOT tell you that you suck at your job nor yell at you for screwing some important computations. You might think these people are great. *Insert buzzer noise here* WRONG! These people are devil-spawns. They might think they mean well but in truth they are ever so slightly ruining your chance of growth. In truth, they are underestimating your emotional stability. That's bullshit. Emotional instability is for the weak.
WHAT A CELINEIST WOULD DO: If they won't voluntarily tell you what they think, take the liberty of asking for their honest opinion. You might not like what you hear and it may sting your pride a little bit, but you'll eventually have the option of becoming better. It's more fun knowing that you were wrong than being kept in the dark and then being stabbed with a not-so-good feedback because you messed up and did not know it. At least when you're told something's wrong, you'll have the chance to right it before it escalates.

2.) First impressions do last.
When you manifest a shadow of your scumbag self the first time you are placed in a new environment, some people will take note. And from that point onwards, your life will be a living hell. (Especially if those people are your superiors.)

WHAT A CELINEIST WOULD DO: Always put your best foot forward. At least for the first few weeks. While a good first impression is easy to abandon, a bad one is not. It'll take you forever to win over these people. So when you can't help going into scumbag-mode, don't get caught. EVER. Learn stealth, but put a premium on sincerity. You wouldn't want to be labeled as a hokum, would you? Of course not.

3.) Never share anything you wouldn't want to be the subject of chit-chat.
"Oh, I've showed that unflattering photo of you to the whole team." 
It's OK to engage in gossip as this is a hassle-free way of getting information and interacting with others. But be careful, a slip of the tongue, even a well-meaning Facebook photo-share, will spread like wildfire and will come back to haunt you.

WHAT A CELINEIST WOULD DO: Remember: It doesn't matter if it's banality. Information is knowledge. Knowledge is power. Whatever you say, whatever you do, can and will be used to make your life miserable. If you're uncomfortable with people, whom you barely know, talking about something that concerns you, then just shut up. Just. Zip. It. Or just stop friending them on Facebook.

4.) You won't always get what you deserve.
Who am I kidding? I learned this when I was in highschool. This lesson is, for me, the most painful to accept. You give your everything, only to have it squashed like a bug. You do the best you can, only to be undermined. How sad.

WHAT A CELINEIST WOULD DO: Don't let these shortcomings, whether it's your own or others', define your worth. Let next time be an opportunity to prove those undermining bastards wrong. Try again. Try harder.
You are only as strong as your ability to move on.

5.) Never allow yourself to be bullied.
With a new environment, comes a new set of people. You will meet a multitude of different faces. Some you will grow to like, some you will want to murder and make it look like an accident. You will be subjected to enormous pressure. You will be teased and mocked.You will have others forcing their lifestyle and beliefs upon your unsuspecting sorry ass. If you're complaining about being penniless and exhausted because you've succumbed to this playground-attitude, you only have yourself to blame.

WHAT A CELINEIST WOULD DO: Unless you want to, do not let them change who you are. Prove that you are not as impressionable as they deem you to be. Have a strong sense of self. Have the courage to say no, and maintain that no. Don't forget that bringing a packed lunch to work is perfectly fine. Your practicality is nothing to be ashamed of.
"Yes, I didn't go out for lunch. You got a problem with that?"


Well, if these somehow helps you get through the real world, you can thank me later. Or buy me a whole lechon. :)

Originally posted on Facebook. March 30, 2012
Photo credits are to their respective owners.

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