A working day
I adopted a routine when I was working as a Marketing Intern at SG11. I had to be at work at 09:00, so I was leaving the house at 08:15. When entering the office, I would say good morning to everyone, asking a quick question like “How are you?” or “Ready for today?”. I was making sure that everyone felt alright and that they were ready to take upon the world, even if it was a Monday morning. Right after this, I would grab a cup of coffee and ask my colleagues if they also wanted one. Then, I would go to my desk, check my email, and plan the day. Furthermore, at noon, it was the lunch break, the best moment of the day, and not because it was a “break”. At every lunch, we discussed anything that exists, football, cuisine, cultures, news, celebrities, funny stories, and so on. It was a moment that helped in building stronger relationships. Right after the lunch break, I get back to my desk, working until 17:00. I would arrive home around 17:50, calling it a day.
From the first time, I observed that the team was full of professionals, but at the same time, it was also a friendly environment. Every day we joked, laughed, but also worked hard. It was a balance. When we were working, everyone was focusing on it. When it was time for a short break, we used that time to discuss things, make jokes, or spend time together and strengthen our collaboration on professional and personal plans.
In the office, half of the people are from the Netherlands, but there are also colleagues from all around the world, such as India and Russia. As coming from a culture with a high emphasis on Power Distance, I expected to encounter hierarchies, as I did back home in Romania. However, this was not the case. I was surprised to see that Dutch people focus so much on equality. I enjoyed being in a multicultural team because of the cultural differences. While some people believe that these differences can result in issues, I believe that there are advantages. You can have many perspectives, brilliant ideas, or interesting approaches when working with a multicultural team.
At first, I felt stuck when I realised that it was a new industry, new scientific words, and a new market. However, from the first week, I already got used to it, with the help of my colleagues. With some research, I realised that it should not be a problem. And it was not, as I am always up for new things. Even if sometimes I encountered issues, I was always helped by the team.
I analysed the technology, the market potential, key networks, and potential partners. Moreover, I reached out, set up meetings, and conducted meeting with these potential partners. Additionally, I conducted follow-ups and reported on my activities.
As a Marketing Intern, I tried to expand our market through networking. But first, I had to learn about our product. After researching the industry, I made a contact list with more than 100 people and their email addresses, phone number, job, and LinkedIn profile. Then, I searched for their work on Google Scholar to see who is really interested in hyperspectral imaging or forensics applications and technology. Furthermore, I sent a different mail to each person, as they were focusing on different things. My goal was to increase the conversion rate, so I tried to make a personalised email. We all know those typical emails that we put directly into spam because we are sick of them. I did not want this to happen to us, so I tried to make something different. After sending emails, some people responded. So, I told my supervisor, and I scheduled meetings. It was useful and effective, as we developed our network all around the world, such as Portugal, Switzerland, Poland, the United Kingdom, and so on. Some of these people gave us interesting details.
Entering a new environment can be challenging and sometimes overwhelming. New colleagues, new industry, new business culture, and new working styles, everything is unfamiliar and there is the need to adapt as fast as possible.
My supervisor asked me to search for professionals in the Forensic industry in order to pitch our solution to them. At first, I thought it would be an easy task as I had done this many times before, so what could possibly go wrong? But, after hours of searching, I could only find a few contacts, which I considered extremely unexpected, as my expectation was to find at least 50. However, I soon realized that the reason is the high confidentiality in this specific industry because Forensics and Police are generally not easy to get in contact with. For me, it seemed like a dead-end, I had no idea how to continue this task, and thus I reached out to my supervisor for guidance. Fortunately, he provided me with a specific platform called ENFSI (European Network of Forensic Science Institutes), which was very helpful because I managed to find plenty of valuable contacts there. I am glad that we could find a solution because otherwise, we would have not been able to expand our connections internationally. Nevertheless, I completely understand the high confidentiality of such departments, and I consider that I handled this situation well because I did not give up once I could not find contacts but instead asked for help from someone that was familiar with this industry. Even if it was an unfamiliar circumstance for me, I had the willingness to learn about the specific approaches for this industry, as I would make use of them in the future as well.