Skip to main content
Communication, Art + Technology › Communication
SFU Co-op Student

empty
a dark image of earth with bright spots to represent hotspots
Credit
unsplash.com
“Coming out of your comfort zone is tough in the beginning but great in the end"

“Coming out of your comfort zone is tough in the beginning but great in the end,” said my manager at the end of my first day at work and I realized that the next 8 months of my internship at SAP might be way more challenging than I thought. Doing something that I had never done before, and starting with a totally new team in an unfamiliar environment sounded truly overwhelming.

One of the biggest fears I encountered in this position was being isolated from the team as my colleagues are all over the world and we mostly collaborated online. Moreover, due to the time differences, my usual workday would be nighttime for my colleagues. At first, I felt a bit lost. I had to figure out a strategy to make sure I wasn’t falling behind and how to do my best for efficient teamwork across distance. Eventually, I realized that I could thrive in such an environment and having flex hours became one of the key advantages of SAP.

Time management is essential when you work with a global team and this was a great skill to learn while working with people in different time zones. The best strategy that worked for me was planning for the whole week and sticking to the schedule. There always might be surprises but knowing the general idea of your ‘to-do list’ or in my case ‘to talk to’ list was a great way of keeping everything under control. My golden rule - if anything can be done today, do it today.

During my first month, I worked with more than 50 people in over 10 different countries and I would bet Skype for Business was the most used app on my phone. This was my first experience of being involved in such a global network and I would never have thought that this format would work so well for me. Working with colleagues that are based somewhere 7000 km away gave me a great opportunity to explore different work styles and understand a different culture. We all know that people from various backgrounds tend to have their own work approaches and mindsets. So, collaborating in a multinational team opened up a totally new world of unique habits, lifestyles and work approaches.

Another important advantage of being part of the multicultural team was the ability to sustain positiveness about diversity and become aware of your own biases. Diversity exposed us to new perspectives, open communication and eventually lead us to more efficient teamwork. When we mixed different languages, values and ideas, we came up with unprecedented decisions and unique projects.

When talking about biases, we could underestimate how they might affect our work. But once we became aware of them, we were able to remove any prejudice power over us and allowed the work process to be filled by deliberate decisions and facts, not perceptions.

After only a short time in my position, I already saw huge changes in my collaborative and time management skills, open-mindedness and most importantly – self-confidence. You never know what the limits of your capabilities until you try! And in most cases, you will be surprised by your strengths and adaptability and what value you can bring to your team and the company. 

SFU Co-op Student
Connect with Anna via LinkedIn. 

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections, Professional Development, Career Exploration, Seeking, Work Term Extension

author, courtney, smiling
A Second Term in Government: More of the Same?

Having completed my first work term for Health Canada as a Communications Officer Intern, I was eager to try something new, and the government was not where I believed that was going to happen. That is until I was offered a position at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada...

picture of glichelle pondering a though
Surviving Workplace Politics

Ever been peeved with workplace politics? Have you ever been a victim of office politics? One student shares her experiences from the workplace with tips on how to survive.

 

person with their head in a book
Responsibility and Success

One of the most memorable parts of my time in co-op was the collection of accidents, errors, mistakes, and mix-ups that happened in the course of working in the laboratory.

 

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections

Three images combined in a collage. Top image shows a blackberry with its screen illuminated and propped up against a book titled "Blackberry Customer Success". Bottom left image shows a Blackberry propped up with its screen displaying in-built apps. The device is flanked on both sides with black cards that say "Blackberry Privilege Project". Bottom right image shows a pair of hands holding and using the blackberry. In the left corner of this image there is a white board that says "Hi I am Nathan".
Life in Ontario: My Co-op at BlackBerry

Meet Nathan: a Business Co-op student who completed a 12-month work term with Blackberry in Toronto. In this blog, Nathan discusses how valuable co-op is for their personal and professional development and why you should consider completing an out-of-town co-op!

Toronto Landscape
My Transition to Toronto: A Guide for Students Going Away for Co-op

Planning upfront saves you from last minute hustles. This article will prepare you for co-op in a city outside Vancouver where new opportunities and variable threats are waiting.

Audrey Heath posing in front of a red mosaic
Communicating Indigenous Narratives

As the Communications Program Assistant at the Indigenous Student Centre at SFU it is my job to create content to share with students that not only promote our programs, but foster community. Read more to find out how it went!