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Beedie School of Business
SFU Co-op Student

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the author and her coworkers at the company
I learned how much the people around you can affect your work habits and why some people choose to stay in a company for such a long time.

On my first day at MTU Maintenance, I remember how nervous I was because I wanted to make a good impression. The orientation made everyone seem so serious, it was definitely a work environment that I wasn’t used to.

MTU Maintenance is an airplane engine maintenance company, meaning there are many mechanics and engineers with a large age range and diversity of workers; it’s clearly not your typical office workplace.

However, within the first week, my nerves started to go away. I noticed that people were open and friendly, asking which university I came from and what my position was because I was a new face in the workplace. Although I had to push myself outside of my comfort zone in order to proactively talk to other employees, whether it be for a project or during my break, I came to realize that everyone made me feel comfortable. Many of the employees were friends outside of the workplace and whenever I saw a familiar face, we would always make sure to greet each other with a simple hi, and smile. The overall office mentality seemed to involve getting your work done through supporting each other, and building a community so that employees would want to help the company succeed.

Engine being repaired at MTU
Credit
Kevin Light
Engine being repaired at MTU

Another thing I noticed was that many employees have had family members who formerly worked at MTU Maintenance or have been working there for 10+ years on average. It was amazing to see how the team cohesiveness within the company really made the workplace enjoyable, and you could see it in the way the employees interacted with each other. I also noticed that although the company is structured in a hierarchy when the team leads talked to mechanics during breaks or about projects, they communicated in a way that put everyone on the same level.

In terms of my position – logistics coordinator, it is fairly independent. It is the type of job where you need to be proactive in getting more work and must ensure deadlines are met on your own, similar to studying in university. Although my supervisors are very supportive and easily approachable, you need to be able to do tasks on your own, and figure things out hands-on, which I really enjoyed. With my supervisors being very busy at times, I learned how to do smaller tasks on my own if she didn’t have time for a meeting or was out of office. I also had my own office with another co-op student in the same position as mine. In addition, they gave us the freedom to voice our opinions if we thought something could be done more efficiently and the ability to guide projects in a way that worked best for us.

Overall, I feel MTU Maintenance did a great job of creating an open and comfortable environment, along with the freedom to do projects as we chose. I gained confidence talking to other employees, gained creative ideas on figuring out how to best complete my tasks, and learned how a tight community of workers can collectively make a workplace experience one that pushes its employees to work harder and support each other along the way. I learned how much the people around you can affect your work habits and why some people choose to stay in a company for such a long time.

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