Welcome to the 2017 Dwellworks Intern blog! Each week until mid-August, our summer interns will be blogging about their Dwellworks Experience and musings from the Internship Program.
Below are their thoughts from week four.
Hailey Atkins | A Project I’ve Been Working on That’s Helping My Department
Taking a step back from sourcing and onboarding new Destination Services Consultants, I am currently in the process of updating and creating Driver's License Guides for all 50 states in the US. I’m going through the existing states' guides and making sure all the links, prices, processes and reciprocities are up-to-date, as well as researching information for states that don’t yet have guides created. This is a long but critical process, but these guides play a vital role for DSCs to assist the transferees in obtaining a driver's license. Many of these guides have not been updated for a few years and have out of date information, which takes a toll on the efficiency of the DSCs’ work. I have been finding a common theme that many of these DMV websites are difficult to navigate and take some careful searches on the process of how expatriates obtain a driver's license. Aside from the minor bottleneck of the websites, I know by doing this project, these guides will be available and used all over the US.
Dan Berghaus | The Biggest Adjustment from College Life to Work Life
Transitioning into a full-time job is a big adjustment for a student not accustomed to working a 9-5 job. Sleeping schedules and social lives get flipped upside down as students transition from college life to work life.
The days of sleeping in until noon and staying out until 3am are long, long over. Heck, even nightly trips to the local bar for the 8pm power hour are over. Waking up at 6:15 every morning takes a toll on my body, especially if I’m not in bed by 10pm the night before. Honestly, there’s no greater feeling than getting into bed by 9:30pm (although it rarely happens) and feeling refreshed in the morning when I wake up. While I miss the late-night shenanigans, this specific change in my lifestyle has worked wonders on my checking account!
Another adjustment from college life to work life is trying to find time to see my friends. Most of the people I know aren’t in 9-5 positions. Many of them are still bartending or working at restaurants and have work schedules that don’t really mesh well with my schedule. It’s a challenge to find a time when both my friends and I are free to get together, since meeting up after class is no longer an option. While it’s sad that we don’t see each other as much as we used to, we have come to appreciate the time we get together much more than we did before.
I’m very happy with the lifestyle I live. I feel like the quality of my life has improved since adjusting to a consistent schedule.
Katharine Zavagno | Experiencing the Dwellworks Culture
Throughout my time at Dwellworks, I’ve continually observed how important “the Dwellworks culture” is to everyone who works here. One unique aspect of Dwellworks is that nearly all of its employees belong to a committee, (fun, philanthropy, green, or wellness) which is an interesting way in which co-workers from different offices and departments can work together on projects they care about. Being a part of several committees has been a great way for me to connect with other people in the office and has allowed me to take on responsibilities that extend beyond my traditional duties as a DS intern. For example, as a member of the Green Committee, I had the opportunity to work with Dwellworks employees from the United Kingdom to work on a company-wide environmental newsletter. On the Philanthropy Committee, I learned about volunteering initiatives around Cleveland in which I can take part. The committees are just one way in which Dwellworks strives to keep the workplace interesting and fun for all of its employees.
Aruni Prakash | First Impressions of Dwellworks/My Leader/My Team
My first experience and real impression of Dwellworks took place on the day of my interview. As soon as I walked in the front door, I was surrounded by a very modern and well-decorated space. I was honestly taken aback by how minimalistic, yet chic the space was. This overall look of the company gave me the impression that Dwellworks is a serious and established organization, and it solidified my interest in interning there. Soon after, I met my leader and some members of the Destination Services team. Although I was extremely nervous, talking to the employees was extremely effortless and engaging. Everyone really wanted to get to know me and genuinely wanted to make me feel at home. I left my interview very eager to hear back as it was exactly the type of place I wanted to work for.
On my first day, I got the chance to fully meet the entire DS team and get to know my leader more. The amount of personal attention and warm welcomes I received was extremely exciting as it showed how much the team really cared about me joining them for the summer. I even went to lunch with a group of DS members and never felt out of place. The transition was so effortless and left an incredible impression on me. I am not afraid to ask questions here and take on more responsibility because the impression that Dwellworks left me with on my first day showed me that it is the right place to learn and grow.
Anna Zschuppe | The biggest adjustment from college-life to work-life
Aside from the longer commute and 40-hour workweek, the biggest adjustment for me is transferring what is taught in the classroom to the world of business. Oftentimes, college courses go over the concepts needed for the major to innovate and succeed, but they don’t touch on the hardships – or the “not so fun” things – of the specific job and how to adjust accordingly. As an intern, it’s important to learn and utilize as many tools and resources as you can to find what you love and hit the ground running after college.
My advice: Especially to those who don’t know what they want to do or where they want to go after graduation, be curious and get out of your comfort zone. Reach out to people outside your department, and ask if you can help their team on any projects. It’ll give you an idea of what different people do on a day-to-day basis and what areas of the business you like and don’t like.
More importantly, connect with people both inside and outside your company (and believe me, this doesn’t have to be anything super formal). It’s as easy as setting up a 30-minute lunch or phone call with someone to learn more about his/her career path and professional experiences. Be creative – it could be a mentor, a college alumnae/alumnus, or someone in the area who you want to get to know. Whomever you choose, keep in touch with them even after your internship to build long-lasting relationships that may lead you to exciting, unexpected opportunities.
Showing passion and taking initiative is not only attractive to individuals around you but also will pay off in the end. By building your network, you’ll add great value to your work ethic, curiosity, and willingness to learn – qualities that are far more useful than any college textbook
Jeff Britton | How I Had Fun at Work This Week
I definitely have had fun at work this week. This past Thursday’s lunch was especially enjoyable as it was hot dog day. The Fun committee here at Dwellworks grilled a lot of hot dogs and a many people met in the first-floor kitchen to eat take advantage of the food. I sat with several other interns as we ate our lunch and just had a great break to the workday. While Dwellworks does not have a grill-out every day, they do many things to help make the day even more enjoyable, this Hot Dog Day was just one tasty example of that.
Emily Llewelyn | My First Impression of Dwellworks, My Leader, and My Team
I first heard about Dwellworks during my job search after coming home from university for the summer. Looking around in Truro and the surrounding areas for an internship in a humanities-based sector was hard enough, so seeing the job description which included words like “fun” and “culture” was intriguing! I was keen to pull my CV together and apply as soon as possible since I wasn’t sure if the opportunity would be around for much longer, and I applied that night.
The recruiting process was interesting since I had never had to interview for any of the jobs I’d had before, so having to make a call to the US and learning about interview processes was all new to me. And yet both the phone interview and the in-person interview were pleasant and relaxed, and I got the impression that Dwellworks would indeed be a lovely and professional place to work.
Since my first day, I have been sitting with different people in the office learning about the different jobs and processes that take place here. My mentor Grace has been so helpful and cheerfully answers any questions I have. Everyone has been really welcoming here, and I am looking forward to meeting the other interns and working on projects in the coming weeks!
Alex Leszcz | Something new I learned from Business Etiquette Training
During our intern training session titled “Business Etiquette Training,” we sat down with Human Resources VP, Shana Zollar, and she ran us through a detailed presentation covering topics from office behavior to interview dress and business dinners. A lot of information was presented, and I would have to look back at my notes to remember it all, but one of the biggest takeaways was a rule on being introduced to somebody while sitting, especially in the office. It is fairly common knowledge that you stand up when meeting somebody and shaking their hand; however, after the introduction what do you do? I learned that you remain standing the duration of the conversation. I have had this happen in the past where you stand there awkwardly thinking about what to do, and I always feel uncomfortable. Now that somebody has told me this rule, I will be much more comfortable and confident when being introduced to somebody. This tip will help make the best possible first impression, which we learned about as well. Since only 7% of a first impression comes from words, it is important for all your actions and body language to be professional and natural. I will definitely keep this tip in mind as I continue my career and constantly network and meet new people.
Maggie Lowman | The Biggest Adjustment from College Life to Work Life
The biggest adjustment from college-life to work-life would have to be the way my time is managed. While at college, I have to ability to pick and choose when I do work, whether it is at 1 in the afternoon or 1 in the morning. I am constantly receiving new assignments and projects, and when I leave class, I have decisions to make regarding how my time will be spent. I can choose to procrastinate and hang out with friends or cut to the chase and do my work early, but either way, I need to allocate time to finish my tasks outside of class and on weekends.
Working in a professional setting, however, has proposed a new scheme of time management. While we are required to put in our 8 hours every day, the rest of our time is left open. When I leave work at the end of the night, unlike when I leave class, I am able to leave my tasks behind as well, knowing that I was able to accomplish a great amount in the 8 hours I spent at my desk. This definitely took some getting used to, but now, four weeks into my internship, I can honestly say that I feel more productive at work and more relaxed at home than I would if I knew there were more research to be done and content to be written after I left the building. Having my time pre-managed allows me to fully enjoy my time off the clock and do my best work on the clock.
Zane Smith | The Biggest Adjustment from College Life to Work Life
The Biggest Adjustment between College-Life and Work-Life is the difference in “contiguity of work,” I guess I would call it. In college, they broadcast to you when the most important times to focus are. The Time and Duration of Lectures and Exams are clear cut and the times between them are not as important except for the obvious homework, study, and projects that need to get done, which you are also told exactly when they are due. The most analogous parts of work life would be important meetings and deadlines, I suppose, however these aren’t in a Syllabus you are handed when you start working and you don’t know all of them for the whole summer/semester/year right away. The difference is reflected by the difference of the Internship Program Guide here and the Syllabus of a course at university.
College is much more “on rails.” It is hypothetically possible to complete all the coursework in the first few weeks, turn it in when it is due, and know exactly what you need to know at the right times for tests.
Oona Haffey | An Example of How I’ve Experienced the Dwellworks Culture
A few weeks ago, the Philanthropy Committee hosted a puppy photo contest. Naturally, I submitted Riley, my nine-month-old Labrador Retriever. Throughout the week, other employees sent in their pictures and by the end of the week there was a wall full of adorable pet portraits! In addition to the photo contest, there was a bake sale with funds supporting the Public Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) Ohio, a rescue and adoption agency in Cleveland. I brought in dog treats as well as human treats for the bake sale and everything was a hit! It was great to see other employees and interns alike participate in this fun event. At the end of the day, votes were counted and I was pleasantly surprised to find Riley the winner of the “Cutest Pet”! I even received a very adorable frame with her picture on it. I have it proudly hanging in my cube. The fun, lighthearted but also philanthropic spirit of Dwellworks makes our culture so unique.
Leslie Flynn | The Biggest Adjustment from College Life to Work Life
The Dwellworks internship is my fourth full-time summer position. By now, I am used to the rhythm of school during the year and working in the summer. My favorite thing about working full time is that unlike school days, the time in the evenings is my own.
When I leave work around 5:00 pm, I do not have to worry about studying or preparing for a project. I can run, make dinner with my roommates, and relax. I am trying to read books from around the world this summer; so far I’ve traveled to Afghanistan (The Sun Also Rises by Khaled Hosseni), Vietnam (The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien), Honduras (Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario), and South Korea (Human Acts by Han Kang).
I’ll enjoy the college schedule for one more year, but I feel prepared from my internships to begin working full-time after I graduate.
To browse more posts about Dwellworks Culture, click here!