I couldn’t believe I’ve done 6 weeks of work already (at that time, now 7 weeks (!!!!)). It went so fast and I have barely scrapped the surface.
How I felt about it
It was surreal and I had mixed feelings. It’s sad because I love the place so much, especially the people. This is my 3rd internship and I’ve worked/volunteer in more than a dozen places now. There are places where I love the people to bits but I don’t enjoy the work (in long term) and there are places where I love the work so much but I don’t enjoy the people. This time I got an combination to great people and great job, which is amazing. Of course, I wont say it’s perfect either, there are always some people who are so irritating in life I can’t help it. It’s not about how well do they do their job. I don’t really care whether the person is performing really well or not, as long as they are diligent, hardworking and they are friendly I have no problem. I know that as long they are disciplined, diligent and hardworking, one day they will get where they want to anyway. The problem I have is people who think they are smart when they are not, and people who think they have power when they don’t. I’d say that almost every workplace have problems with nasty people (in small organisations, that might not be inside the organisation, it might be your customers) and they are an unfortunate part of life. But the point is that the number of these irritating people are so small compared to the general population, which is great. I can’t imagine being surrounded with horrible people for 40+ years of my working life, I’d be more than screwed. I don’t want to die young as far as I can help it. So yeah, thankfully my workplace now offers that really skewed proportion between nice people and not so nice people, which is great.
On the other hand, I do get excited and proud of myself. I mean, I didn’t know how I would survive the first week and I came not knowing what is a variable geometry turbocharger (which is what I’m working on now, haha). So I have definitely come a long way since then. Commuting by train is one of the thing that I hope I don’t have to do for the rest of my life because it’s tiring and so time consuming. It’s good that I’m doing this in my summer placement though, now I got a taste on how it’s like and then I know not to do it if I can help it in the future.
Looking back, I can’t believe how much I have learnt.
From nothing, zero experience whatsoever with everything work related to knowing how to ship parts around, how to get a purchase order, knowing some turbo common failure modes and testing. And finally, I can follow conversations and meetings! It took me THAT long to understand people’s conversation. Now that I understand what they are talking about, I totally get it why it took me so long to understand their conversation. They use about 125872045987 different acronyms and some people even took it to another level by making their own acronyms. Seriously. And then all these technical vocabularies that contains 10 minutes’ worth of explanation in each word. Whoever said that engineers talk in different language, they are definitely correct. But yeah, I can now understand meetings and conversations. I do still have questions, but sometimes I can infer the meaning from the context, which I don’t normally able to do.
I’ve definitely learnt a lot about turbo and mechanical world. Duty cycle, thrust bearings, oil slingers, nozzle loading, Matrix and their counterparts used to mean nothing to me. Now I use those words almost every single day. At the same time though, I don’t think I “know”. I think I’ve just moved from I don’t know what I don’t know” to “I know that I don’t know”. Turbochargers are such an intricate component and I definitely didn’t realise how much work have gone inside that one component alone. I mean when you see it for the first time, yeah it’s one impeller that is connected to another impeller and they rotate together, what’s so complicated about that? Now I realise that it’s not that simple, they move so fast they can kill people if not designed and manufactured properly, and that’s the reason that little thing needs 1 whole building filled with engineers to make it happen (well I said little, but I forgot that high horse power turbo is almost as big as me).
Feedback from my manager
I wont say everything because I know other placement students are reading this blog, hahahaha (yes, they mentioned it to me, not going to mention names XD). But one thing that really surprises me is that he appreciates that I am not shy of asking questions and I just keep asking questions so he knew exactly when I actually understand or when I don’t understand. So when I told him that I understand, he knows exactly that I understand and he has peace in mind with leaving me with that task. I’m really surprised because I thought I tortured him to death with the amount of questions that I have. I asked probably 100+ of questions EACH DAY on my first week. I’m not kidding. That’s a conservative estimate. Thankfully there are 3 members in the team so I just distribute the questions lest they go crazy. Now I probably ask around 20 in a day, plus I know way more people than I used to, so I can distribute questions more evenly without giving anyone mental breakdown. But yes, I did write on the power of inquiries and how it helped me tremendously, so go and give it a read.
Loving every moment I’m working. Definitely there’s something about the goofy and fun people around me who are able to keep me from mental breakdown when I have to fix the turbo database (my side project at work). The job is also really rewarding, I really like the variety of tasks and how much learning occurs in the job. Hopefully I wont change my opinion when I reach week 12 😊.
Read my previous posts in the series: