Reflections on my Leaderonomics Internship

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07-04-2020

6 min read

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Caution: rant ahead

What do you want to be when you grow up? – everyone in the history of forever

I’ve grown to hate being asked this, but it wasn’t always so. When I was younger I wanted to be a doctor, an actress, a veterinarian, even a ship captain – not because I knew what the professions entailed but because these were careers that were glorified, professions that were deemed elite.

intern reflection

Well, maybe not so much that last one, once I saw Titanic

This is yet another unspoken rule of society, much like getting married and having kids by the time you’re 30. It leaves kids lost and dreams crushed. Yes, parents just want the best for their children. but seldom take the time to get to know them and their needs. 

These ideals get conditioned into us since childhood, to the point that we think they are our own. So, at 50-years-old, you have money, a family, a big house, fast cars and fame, if that is something you are into. But are you content? Were those things really what you wanted?

To be candid, money is not my goal. I need to know the work I am doing is helping in some way. That I am making a difference. I know that a lot of people can relate to this. 

Two and a half months into my internship, I have realised some things about myself. But before that I would like to express my gratitude to Leaderonomics. This internship has given me practical and valuable exposure in a way that resonates with me. 

It was love at first sight

I am someone that likes to know the reason behind something. Being told ‘that’s the way it is’ has never sat well with me. I cannot just accept your conclusion; I need evidence. And this company saw that importance. 

Tasks were given with context to ensure that we understood the purpose of the assignment in order to execute it as best as we could. I was treated like an employee, given responsibilities, and I could see my contributions playing a part in the overall purpose of the company: transforming systems through leadership development.

I felt like an important cog in a machine powered to add value to society. The company also understands the interdependence of various roles. It doesn’t limit employees based on their job title. This allows for transparent communication across the departments, and thus true strategic collaboration. 

I also experienced slight workaholic symptoms; thinking about work after hours, always staying back after work and sometimes even dreaming about work…

intern reflection

Editor’s note: that happens to us too, but we call them nightmares

Through our collaborations, I learned the usefulness of teamwork. In university, I dreaded group work as I saw it as a hindrance. I was thoroughly convinced of the futility of trying to get three or more different brains to sync and align to a task.

I never considered that those three different brains might produce more ideas than one – the very essence of brainstorming. Think of it this way, the strength of a community far outweighs the strength of just one person.

I learned how to be open to teamwork and set differences aside. Working with people always opens you up to new experiences and experiences bring growth. And if you are not growing then you simply are not living.

And then the honeymoon was over

Despite all that, I had an inkling that the corporate life/world was not going to appeal to me. After two wonderful and enlightening months, I felt like I was collapsing. Could have been due to the cumulative effect of my routine; work, eat, sleep and repeat. Well, I could have done with more sleep, actually. 

It may have also been due to the fact that I get bored easily. Admittedly, I was becoming increasingly lax about finishing work. 

I knew I was capable of doing my job but I felt that the very concept of needing to have a job unsettled/distressed me.

But there was something else. I was not happy. I think deep down, I knew I was capable of doing my job but I felt that the very concept of needing to have a job unsettled/distressed me.

I don’t know, do I sound spoiled? Two months into work (it’s not real work, you say, it’s just an internship) and already I’m complaining while other people have been working for decades? 

This collapse is when I realised that the ‘normal’ idea of work was not for me. Working eight hours a day for five days a week made me feel trapped in a mindless and redundant loop. Having only weekends to work on my personal and social life. Not counting family time or health and wellbeing. How do people do this for 40 years or more? 

intern reflection bubbles

No time to sit and ponder if you even like what you are doing – until you have a midlife crisis wondering what happened to the past 20 years of your life. I sound like a madman. But I cannot seem to allow myself to enter this bubble. What happens when it bursts? Worse yet, what if it never does? 

I am not criticising people who choose this lifestyle. If it works for you then it works for you. I guess I just have a different idea of success.

To add to that, I learned that I truly value leisure time or ‘me-time’, I need more quality me-time than just sitting around watching movies or scrolling through my phone. Quality me-time that would better recharge me. Things like journaling and meditation where I actually spend time with myself and reflect, just like this.

Wow, I’m surprised you’re still reading this. Thank you for walking with me through my winding and meandering rant. But wait, there’s more!

Is this all we are?

We have the technology to be more sustainable than ever, and yet poverty, pollution, and corruption only get worse. Where is the compassion for our fellow man?

One thing I am upset about is the mindset engraved in people (myself included). It’s the overwhelmingly capitalist world we live in. Survival is the goal. Money is the key.

Anything you can find, any novel idea you develop and manifest, must have a monetary value assigned to it. Take newspapers, for instance. They seem to be aimed at providing people with news to inform and enlighten. But the concept was commercialised and turned into an industry because someone realised that people would buy them. Informing and enlightening can now only come at a price.

What’s worse, the news sometimes does not represent the truth but instead consists of stories that only serve to sell more newspapers. Sadly, it is a numbers world. 

Passion seemingly cannot exist for the sake of passion. So many people who are fascinated by unprofitable things must give it up if it interferes with making money. Sadly, you can be passionate about something but if you are not disciplined and brave enough to take action and risks you just lose out on the world, or the world loses out on you. 

How beautiful. I wonder if the artist is dead so it’s worth more

The world rewards those who play according to the rules. Shouldn’t our aim be for everyone to have their best life? And not just for each person to struggle on their own? I refuse to accept this as a matter of opinion. 

I am not saying that money is the problem. The problem is how much the world craves and idolises it. Should we go back to the barter system? Sounds backward but I wonder if it would create a more equitable system. We have the technology to be more sustainable than ever, and yet poverty, pollution, and corruption only get worse. Where is the compassion for our fellow man?

I get that other people may not have the privilege of choosing what they want to work as. They will take any job because it is their means of sustaining themselves and I respect that. This is precisely the only reason I would work an office job; to sustain myself and to be independent. 

My real job is being my authentic, genuine self. I think that would make me happy. As an aside, I really did enjoy writing this article and maybe that is a sign of something I can build towards.

Whosoever is delighted in solitude, is either a wild beast or a god – Aristotle

Rant over.

Manisha Kaur was an intern at Leaderonomics from January to April 2020. She is a free spirit who will probably metamorphose into a unicorn in the near future. We are grateful that she chose Leaderonomics as the place for her internship, and we wish her the best on her journey of self-discovery. 

Editor’s note: If you are looking for a challenging but rewarding place to do an internship, why not give us a try? Head over to our Career page and drop us a line.

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