Intern Insights: Operational Efficiency

August 6, 2012

…And it’s officially August. Wow, this summer has flown by. It seems like just yesterday I was packing up to head to Falmouth for the summer. Now, I have to think about moving into my dorm, buying books, and taking some of the harder courses Bentley has to offer (Yippee?). I don’t know about you, but I surely don’t want summer to end.

Becoming acclimated to the office environment and dynamic has been a major challenge for me. I love being outdoors whether it is on the boat, the beach, or just in the backyard on a sunny day. Watching sunny days pass by from my desk has been difficult and probably won’t get any easier from here on out. I get my tan on the weekends, provided it’s nice out, and it gradually fades during the week. I’ve learned from my co-workers that it takes little things to keep your sanity in the summer. You’d be surprised how far an hour lunch break goes! It’s as simple as rolling up your sleeves, kicking your feet up, and closing your eyes. For a moment, it’s almost like you’re at the beach (keyword: ALMOST).

In school, I have always been tentative to ask for help. It may be because I don’t realize that I’m not understanding the material until I sit down to take an exam and have that, “Oh, God!” moment, but that’s a different story for a different time. Naturally, this transitioned to the workplace. When I’m given a project, I do it to the best of my abilities. If something goes wrong, I try to figure it out myself. Unfortunately, I realized that a good deal of material was going to go over my head. I know much more about insurance than when I started, but I still don’t know very much. Therefore, I have had to ask for help and have found that my coworkers are generally very approachable and are willing to offer their knowledge. In this regard, having an internship has been humbling. I may have thought so a month ago, but I don’t know everything.

The central focus of the week has been efficiency and how technology can either promote or impede it. At the agency, we have the most up-to-date software, dual monitors, cloud computing, scanners to enforce paperless, computers and other hardware that promote efficiency. My perspective is purely subjective, taking into account what I have grown up knowing and my personal preferences. It seems that every time you being to get used to software, the company releases a more up-to-date version. It seems counteractive to change software when you have finally reached maximum efficiency in one version. After watching my father as I’ve grown older, I tend to shy away from ditching efficient technology from new software. The software my father uses to track oil deliveries is as old as I am. In fact, it probably peaked before I was born. Yet, I don’t find this to be a bad thing. There have been times where he has thought about updating, but spending thousands of dollars on software that will be out of date by the time he is able to operate it at the same efficiency as before seems to be a frivolous endeavor. This week there was a security breach in the company that offers our cloud computing services. This brought work to a screeching halt, as our storage drives were shut down completely and employees lost access to their work in progress. At times, I wonder what the benefit of cloud computing is for a company with only two locations. Would we have encountered the same problems if we had privately held servers? I’m in no position to answer that question, but it is an interesting one to contemplate. To me, efficiency means tasks are completed in a timely, cost effective manner. If cloud computing allows us to complete tasks faster, and at a lower opportunity cost, then servers being out of commission for a few hours is forgivable.

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