About Author: – Ruchi Bhalla is a final year MBA student at Sri Ram College of Commerce. She shares her internship experience in Gurgaon, Haryana with Ernst and Young in the Human Resources Department.
So there comes a time in every student’s life when a vacation does not mean a vacation anymore. It means, in most refined terms – a learning experience. A life shaping, life turning event nurturing you to take that perfect decision which will groom you to meet the standards set by the world and the ultimate utopian state of mind which can be achieved by nothing more than a well established career or in my terminology – WORK. A simple 4 lettered word, WORK – the ruthless cold murderer of my precious vacation.
Let’s just reassess the term internship. Was it the need of the hour or was it just to snatch away the precious two months to do what you are anyway going to be doing for the rest of your life? With such thoughts I entered my posh office and felt liberated when I saw my name plate on the desk assigned solely to me. Aah pride! My plush space, uniquely mine and ooh all those mature people and the feeling of being in formals. I felt important, especially since I had beat 30 odd people in competition to get this campus placement. So the days began, work became my friend, my love and eventually my food, and the air I breathed; but more on that later. Like every good love story this was a love story with a twist, which waged into a war and ended with success. Err; so I guess. So where was I, yes my desk, my own space in this huge 6 floored building. I was one of the luckiest there for I got a seat right next to a huge ceiling to floor window seemingly keeping me connected with the outside world or the reality which seemingly escaped me in the first few weeks. I fell in love. First true love. Work. Work like a seductress with immense practice befriended me, in this lone place with no other intern on my floor. I unabashedly claim, it was love. Work was my love. I loved what I did and I could see no more. I was blinded. No matter how often my mentor would ask me to stop working I would still continue to work, I would silently question in my head – why not work? Like a fool in love with reasoning lost, I loved my work with the passion never felt or experienced before.
But the problem with a sentimental fool like me is, when we love, we want commitment. A long steady relationship and hence like a fool I started building my paradise in my head – me, work and my organization. What a glorious vision! The commitment that I sought was a PPO. With all the passion I gave in building the foundation so strong, all I wanted in return was my love my work to respond back and fulfill my expectations in terms of a PPO. Now you want to question PPO? What is this PPO? It is the ultimate level of commitment that can be achieved by the employee and the employer. A wedding of sorts – a Pre Placement Offer. And oh the visions I had of this elaborate unison were always grand. There was always champagne. I gave what is required for every relationship, time, effort, love, dedication, meeting expectations, exceeding expectations, making sure I was THE ONE… only one! The delusion, the vision, the fantasy knew no bounds and I completely forgot about the ceiling to floor window and what lay outside it. As every memorable love hate story which always has a triangle with a villain, so came the villain in form of a fellow intern. And oh how I praised about my love for my work, and how I was going about it passionately, making sure my work would be the best in my chosen field and when the world talks about high standards, they will talk about me and my beloved work as the ultimate example. Oh the superiority, the basking in glory. In saying so I paved the way to my own hell hole, and allowed entry to my love story, of the villain (let’s call her Politic) who tried to belittle me and my love for my work by showcasing how Politic stands out and how Politic is more fit and how Politic is the standard. Thus I was introduced to the dark world of Politic. I learned. Each day a new learning, dealing with Politic and her aids Politically and Politics. Giving myself strength with the oasis of a PPO, and overused clichés on strength, I carried on my relationship in my love nest. Politic, Politically and Politics were eventually driven out and my relationship did shine out bright. I had fought with all my might. Yes, the PPO shall be mine.
In this relationship, I forgot all about the others, the real world, I lost connect , I didn’t recognize myself…..Was I happy? Was this happiness? Was it all that I had ever wanted? Had I finally found out the one thing that could define me for the rest of my life? Was it indeed my destination? I would wonder from time to time. Then during the end days when time for final evaluation came and I asked, what about the PPO? Mentor replied: It’s against company policy dear. The bubble I had built burst. The time I spent, making it my entire life was certainly not the time it deserved. I had one foot in reality and one foot in illusion. The oasis seemed to exist no longer. And I hated work for having taken me away from those who truly loved me and genuinely cared. And I looked through the glass again, I saw a crack that had come on it and it had probably gone unnoticed before but I knew then, one should work for a living and not live to work.
Managing the work life balance is one of the toughest and trickiest tasks that a budding professional needs to learn. Get to know how from our article on Work Life Balance for Interns. If you think that your internship experience was interesting, share it with us on Your Internship Story Contest and win prizes worth Rs. 40,000!