Intern Insights: The Reality of the Corporate World

July 16, 2012

If anyone picked this week to take off from work, you really knocked the ball out of the park. Eighty's and sunny all week long with low humidity and hardly any clouds, you simply can't beat it.

While lots of people were on the beach, we were grinding here at Murray & MacDonald per usual. At the beginning of the week, I was given the task of contacting a few giant petroleum corporations to confirm that they received a fax we had sent them the previous week. I expected to make a few phone calls and my job would done, but I was wrong.

I called one company only to find an automated answering service that did not serve any of my needs. I called another and was directed to my contact's voice-mail. I called yet another and was directed to two different voice-mails. I called 8 companies and was answered by a real, live human-being twice. Call me naive, but I simply could not believe it. Three people responded, two by phone and one by email, confirming they had received our fax days ago but had not called us though they were prompted to do so. I actually had a pleasant conversation during both phone calls, listening to stories about vacations and such, but the lack of communication with others was frustrating. I understand that people are busy, but my question required a simple "yes" or "no" and I felt I was getting the cold shoulder.

While others might see this conflict as minor, it reinforced a stigma about large corporations that I wanted to believe was false. As a Junior at Bentley, the thought of entering the workforce is creeping its way into the forefront of my mind. Like myself, a good majority of my classmates have internships and are taking the direct route to the corporate world. I constantly receive emails from our Career Services department with dozens of new job listings, firms reaching out to Bentley specifically for new employees, and more often than not they are from large corporations. I'm not saying that large corporations are bad places to work, or are evil by nature, the career paths that these corporations offer and fruitful and conducive to the lifestyle I want to live. My experience put into perspective the career path, I both want and need to take, and that is small business. I take pride in servicing people promptly and being able to solve problems that others can not. I need that face-to-face interaction with co-workers and customers, knowing everyone by name and having a friendly relationship with them. The business I was raised in requires this level of interaction, it is what I have seen my grandfather and father do and is it the way I intend to do business some day. To say that my path will not lead me into the big corporate world is false. It is inevitable that I will find myself at some big firm for some time. I have student loans to pay off, and I am going to want a car, an apartment, and food on my plate. Heck, I might even be a CEO some day. If I love what I do, that is fine by me. I just feel that small business is the place for me.

Last week, I talked about the ebb and flow of the workweek and routines that employees go through. I go to Dunkin Donuts every morning and get a medium caramel iced coffee with milk and sugar, and a donut. I order from the same girl every day, she has mine and my girlfriend’s cups filled before we even get in line. However, this week she told me I couldn’t eat donuts anymore. I tried to rebut but I had no justification for eating a donut every day, so I quietly grabbed my coffee and left. At least someone is watching what I eat!