Skip to main content
Beedie School of Business
SFU Co-op Student

empty
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.

SFU Co-op Student

You Might Like These... During the Work Term, Professional Development, Workplace Success, Workplace Transition, Communication

Co-op coordinator wth student during site visit
Make the Most of Your Co-op Site Visits

Your Co-op Coordinator, supervisor, and you in the same room -- time for a site visit! Co-op site visits are a time for reflection on your work term including what could be improved and what has been great so far.

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.

 

A woman fast asleep
Sleeping for Success at Work!

The days of pulling all nighters and getting by on 2-3 hours sleep are over! Getting enough sleep is essential to ensure you can keep up with the demands of a fulltime work schedule and put forth your best performance.

You Might Like These... Seeking

William Thomas
Ergonomic Exploration

Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology students often find themselves lost in the hazy fog of physiotherapy, med school, chiropractic’s and post-graduate studies.  New graduates can find salvation in a challenging, but rewarding field that calls upon the creative and the technical sides of an individual. Read on to learn about working in the field of Ergonomics.

three ladies celebrating
Discovering a New Campus

Puppy Therapy, Laughter Yoga, and Knitting Club... Read about Megan's co-op experience at SFU's Health and Counselling and the valuable lessons learnt in this 8-month journey. 

People shaking hands
Top Ten: Best Ways to Make a GREAT Impression

The Co-op advisors at SFU are in the unique position of hearing from both employers and students about what makes a successful work term. Paulette Johnston has a list of ten simple ways to get off on the right foot.