Monday, July 30, 2012


I was chatting with a friend about my awesome internship and how I love my office and she said, "Wow, you are so lucky to get this job!" I laughed it off, but I was actually quite vexed by that statement, because after all I've done to get this internship, people still see it as a stroke of luck?

Believe me, this has very little to do with luck. Luck is when you step on a 100 euro bill on the street, or when you are running late to the train station but suddenly your train is running late too. But when you work relentlessly for something, that's no longer a lucky strike.

I've always wanted to work in aerospace, so when I saw this composite convention in Paris a couple of months ago, I decided to skip school and go for it. I perfected my resume, printed out 40 copies (20 in French and 20 in English), and off I went. Each and every of the leading composite manufacturers in the world was there, so I figured there were no better opportunities to drop off some resumes, all the while having small talks with the companies' representatives face-to-face.

I practically combed through each and every stand talking to everyone I saw. I saw my resume being examined before getting put under a pile of newspaper and pamphlets, also known as the day's junk. There's even this Dutch guy who took my resume and when I came back half an hour later, I saw it being used as a coffee coaster. I got rejected by Toray, the world leader of composite materials manufacturer, by a simple head shake. I got turned down by BASF, who told me there weren't any internships available (in other words, "we don't want you.")  Of course, it was not a career fair, so they weren't there to recruit interns. They were selling their products, so I was like a fly in a fancy restaurant. Persona non grata that no one is capable of getting rid of.

Even when I got the job, I was faced with a billion problems. They had to justify why they had to take a non-German intern to the German Employment Centre, and that was a beautiful shitstorm. They asked me to send them all kinds of documents imaginable, from my birth certificate to my SPM result slip all the way to my latest exam results. Hell, I even had to prove that I went to high school in Taiping, and that I had enrolled in a French language programme in Angoulême (luckily I still keep all my enrollment certificates).

Me being me, of course I decided to crank the difficulty level up a notch: I decided to go travelling with my brother and my friends when all this shitstorm was at its peak. So I had to do everything by e-mail. I needed to look for internet cafés while travelling because I had to print and FedEx urgent documents. I had to ask for help from people at my school through the telephone, and I had to call some people in Germany from wherever I was at that moment. And my phone bills went through the roof! I only learned that I had definitively secured this intern position a week before I came here, so for a whole month I was in a limbo state but I told myself to gamble it because I was already in that deep.

And when I finally thought everything was falling into place, I received an e-mail saying that the room that I had reserved had been let go to someone else. And I only had one week before starting my internship to find a new room in a town I didn't even know. So I had to make a billion phone calls to find a new room, and God knows how lousy my real estate vocabulary is in German so it was really a pain in the ass to discuss rent and the tenant's agreement in German, only to realise half an hour later that I was looking at an unfurnished room that is situated in another city, but the agent insisted that with a car, it'll only take me under two hours to get to work. That stupid bitch alone cost me 40 euros on my phone bill.

So no, it is definitely not a lucky strike that I got this job. Luck can only bring you so far, but you have to do the rest yourself. With a little help from people around me, and a little prayer to God, I made this happen for myself. It might sound cocky to say so, but it pisses me off when people complain about stuff but don't work towards improving it. And whenever others made it, they'd say "That's just luck."

1 comment:

Sabrina said...

True that. I always believe that the harder you work, the more luck you will have.