During the aforementioned internship stint, my preference to solve conflicts and establish harmony came to the fore as I often mediated conflicts between my peers. To prevent a zero-sum game situation from being played out, I would usually search for common ground between the two parties so that a compromise would be reached and arrive at a win-win situation.However, on occasions when I was mediating conflicts and seeking common ground, there were times when I sacrificed my own opinion for the sake of harmony and balance.
A reserved and pensive individual, this implied my opinions were usually drowned out in the sea of voices. I concluded I was internalising and repressing my feelings a great deal, hence much in the way I protect the feelings of others, I must protect my own as this lack of healthy emotional expressions can led to a lot of stress and frustration on my part. While working as a part-time intern, I knew I had to strive for the opportunities I want and equally deserve, while preparing myself for the next internship in the corporate world.
Although I liked and respected my peers, I understood that they were also my competition as I headed into the corporate world.Other than educational pursuits, it dawned upon me how planning for the future should not deter me from living in the moment as I tended to overextend myself. I prioritised spending time with groups of people I trust and to whom I feel close to, to continue revitalising myself to seek meaning and purpose. For Thomas Carlyle once said, Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand. The best possible way to prepare for tomorrow is to concentrate with my intelligence and enthusiasm, on doing today’s work superbly well. Nonetheless, I still have to plan for the future, while working towards my goals, a day at a time. Having in mind the first-hand experience in my prior temporary role, I understood the value of working in an almost frictionless environment with amicable colleagues. However, I craved for a sense of belonging in an organisation with close knit and supporting teams, which according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, would not have been possible as all needs have to be fulfilled before embarking on other higher order needs. As such, I embarked on two undergraduate internships during my tertiary education, returning to the organisation I worked at previously in my temporary role, having felt comfortable with its organisational culture. I noticed that as an undergraduate intern, I preferred to approach my assigned tasks by setting timelines and deadlines to ensure that I deliver my work on time. This was because I felt emotionally bound to fulfil all promises made and complete the work I find on my desk. Furthermore, due to my dislike of surprises, I planned to stay in control of the dynamic environment I was working in. As such, I tended to comprehend the events occurring around me in the form of setting up routines, timelines and deadlines, which are then followed throughout the day. While this works very well for me, I am pleasantly delighted when it also aided my department with certain deadlines relating to my internship.Similarly, as a thinker whose decisions border on practicality, I always aim to handle my work in the most efficient manner while remaining well-tuned to others’ emotions. I may not have agreed with every emotion or thought that my colleagues might have mentioned, but this understanding of certain mannerisms that people have allows me to fine-tune my approach to interacting with them. At the same time, I could better understand their differences and specialities in the process, which was extremely useful as I took note when I clarified with my colleagues about my tasks, especially in periods of high stress.As I learnt by listening and reflecting and usually think before I speak, my words are measured and encompassed different perspectives to avoid offending anyone. This introspection allows me to take in the occurrences in my life and digest complex information before communicating it to the surrounding people. However, there were also occasions in which I took a little longer to process information in a time sensitive environment, which led to delayed decision making. I am still working on fine tuning my decision-making process to come to decisions in the shortest time possible. Soon after the multiple job stints in the corporate world, I had neared graduation and by reflecting on my past experiences, the issue of the magnitude and repercussions of mistakes made at work weighed heavily on me. I knew such incidents may create an indelible mark on my future career progression and I was largely sheltered from that as an intern. Besides adding a fresh perspective to my ambitions, I had to prepare myself for the greater responsibilities when working as a team and not in silos which my studies provided. I am currently pursuing a postgraduate degree, some 5 years after my first stint in the corporate world. I had always strived to undertake a postgraduate degree when I was still an undergraduate and the time has come for me the opportunity to hone a better version of myself.After working in the corporate world on several occasions, I am interested in the juxtaposition of how most Singaporean employees emerge from the same education system, yet they approach matters at work in a vastly different manner. The dynamics of the corporate world complicates issues as appeals to logos or logic might not always work in a grey world. Having had encountered heated discussions previously, appeals to pathos or emotions with I understand you and feel and the ethos of the speaker such as a respected authority usually results in a compromise.To illustrate this, I keenly felt the implications of withholding my opinions and I was passed over for a leadership role as an undergraduate. Although humbleness is a virtue and I am unwilling to advertise my strengths in a world where empty vessels make the most noise (and are rewarded for the wrong reasons), I have taken measures to embrace vulnerability and voice my opinions frequently. My fear has yet to go away completely, but I strongly believe it is essential to deliver results, but nave to ignore relationships in my future career.In my postgraduate classes, I hope that by interacting with my peers of diverse nationalities, it will give me the opportunity to hone my cross-cultural communication skills and provide me with a multi-faceted perspective in a grey world. Being able to interact with my peers with a wealth of experience is a blessing, as I get to hear their years of experience distilled in short snippets over the term and inch closer to a professional grounding of accounting. What better time to learn from them now than compared to the future where they are not only your peers, but also your competitors? Equally important, I reflected that naysayers of Singapore purport that she does not have much culture and personality as compared to other countries with civilisations dating back centuries, even millenniums, apart from the rankings putting us firmly on the world map. Singaporeans seemed to have placed excessive emphasis on meeting their practical needs and forgotten the intangible wonders that life bears. Hence, in my future pursuit of extrinsic motivation, such as remuneration to support myself, I am keen to take measures to ensure the flame of passion for my career does not extinguish in the face of harsh realities.Besides my career pursuits, I hope to volunteer on a regular basis, so as to experience the lives of those different from myself. It is only from seeing the world not only from my lens but that of others and being comfortable with the unfamiliar, that I understand the inner convictions of others. However, fulfilling basic needs would be a priority early into my career, as the saying goes putting on my oxygen mask first before helping others.In conclusion, I am no longer the girl who began the first step of adulthood with some trepidation. Each time I realised there was more to myself that meets the eye, I rise up to the challenge and face uncertainty with a certain steeled resolve to overcome it. I look at things in day-tight compartments and manage what comes my way objectively to shape change. For life, we learn too late, is in the living, the tissue of every day and hour. It is not just material pursuits, but the actualisation of your dreams and passion.Word count: 2163