People say experience of life consists of the things you have done and of the people you have met. Looking back at the journey at UPM: I have worked with five teams within finance and business control functions over the past one year and a half. To me, this is just the perfect timing for writing my blog as a graduate trainee, because the program is coming to an end. This blog is also my personal review of these past days and months.
Already at the beginning I knew it would be an exciting journey to experience several rotations, but I didn’t realise beforehand how many new experiences and how much value and unforgettable memories this training program would bring to me. What I appreciate the most is my supervisor´s attitude: how she is always willing to share her opinions and experiences, and at the same time she is a good listener and willing to hear me and respect my thoughts. We have planned some of my rotations together based on my interests and the field I want to get in touch with, and as a result, the rotation experience has brought me more than I expected.
My rotation covers three locations and five teams. Some of the rotations lasted for a few weeks only, some of them for several months. Throughout these rotations, my biggest gains, others than those of solid business and operational knowledge, are the “soft-skills” that I’ve gotten to develop and strengthen.
Within all these rotations, there’s one challenge I hadn’t thought about until this really happened to me – the capability to learn to understand unknown fields very quickly and to perform related tasks accordingly. In other words, you need to be a fast learner to catch up the pace of work rotation, and this fast-learning pace also keeps me always passionate and curious about work. Furthermore, working in an international company, I have seen how my social skills have improved along with my rotation. On one hand, going to a new place and joining a new team always requires from me building up a social network quite proactively. On the other hand, working with people from different countries and cultures is a really fascinating thing to me as I can see people’s different ways of working and their unique personalities.
The whole rotation package influences me positively in many aspects. Rotating among different teams also keeps me thinking: which field is of my real interest in my career path, what kind of person I want to become in my career and what are the weaknesses I need to develop. Rotation experience enables me to see more places and meet more people, therefore when it comes to a personal development, I feel like I also have a better understanding about myself now than before.
Given the chance to write my blog, I also want to express my sincere gratitude to all the people who I have worked with as well as who I am still working with because they make my journey meaningful. I am very lucky because I can chat freely with my supervisor and mentor about my concerns and feelings about work. They always give me friendly and open advices based on their experiences and share their own stories. In addition, all the managers also have given me a very warm and comfortable feeling when I was with their teams as they didn’t only instruct me about work, but also cared about my feelings when working with their team. They even arranged team activities to help me adapt better to the team. What I also appreciate is that I have luckily gotten to know some people who I see as role models to me and I believe having such role models at the very beginning of my career can definitely make a big difference in my life. Their professionalism and attitude towards work always motivate me and make me consider seriously what kind of a person I want to become. Also, I will never forget those people with whom we celebrated the Christmas party, went on business trips abroad, enjoyed beer festival, teamed up for room escape and hung out for after-work drinks etc. All this indeed makes my rotation life colourful and unforgettable.
My peers, the other graduate trainees, are another part of the journey. We have different backgrounds and we come from different corners of the world, but we are gathered because of the program. Initially I didn’t expect us to become very close because we’re deployed in different locations. However, training sessions, which are also part of the program and have been held every few months, have allowed us to get together for a couple of days at a time and there we always had some fun group activities. Every time we met, we could chat very freely and we spent hours talking about our rotation and our personal life, as well as about our concerns for the future. We have been visiting each other during our rotation when not having been located too far one from another. In the final training session that we just had, we noted that we are more like friends and we even plan to meet up every year in mid-January. To me, the relationship with my peers is special because we have been growing together in the company.
Words cannot express all my feelings about every moment of this journey, but when looking back I realise how many things I have gone through and how much memories I will have of this program. Just like one saying expresses it: “The past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later and thus we don’t have complete emotions about the present, only about the past.”