The Internship, Epilogue
This post was originally written a couple of weeks ago, but I forgot to publish it.
As of last friday, I’ve completed the three week internship.
After the internship, there were drinks around the office. It was a good couple of hours… lots of smiles, lots of laughs. I can really get used to this, I thought. Then the five of us interns broke away from the main group to go to Karaoke to celebrate a bit later.
All things considered, the internship was great– despite that it was extremely stressful in many ways, I did get a real taste of what the the work at a big firm is like. It’s completely different from the pace of the much smaller firm that I worked for in Sydney. There were many instances where I felt like I was in way over my head, and there were many situations that kept me up later at night because I just felt as if I’d screwed up.
I think that the stress of the situation was worse because the internship is part of an ongoing evaluation process to try and win a training contract with the firm. If it was any other work situation, where there was no pressure to constantly be overly careful and paranoid about everything one did, it’s not that I would have produced work that was any less good– I would have just done the same quality of work, but without overthinking things as much.
Now that the internship is over, I’ve got about a week left in Hong Kong with [CM] and her family until I head back to Sydney for the January semester to finish my degree.
I’m going to miss working at this firm. I met some really good people there. Not only did they teach me a lot, but they showed me a whole lot of trust to do hella difficult and challenging work. It’s the first workplace in a long, long time where not only wasn’t I babied, but big things were expected of me. I think part of the thing that I learned was that in these sorts of places, delegation isn’t just about shoving the menial tasks down the chain of command– in reality, even for the simplest thing, like checking that the numbers add up in a costs agreement or that all the addresses are correct, it’s all important. A consultant or a partner higher up on the food chain isn’t going to have time to look at those small details, so even the work of an intern needs to be perfect. They are trusting us with their back.
We went to court once to go for a summary default judgment in absence of a defence filed– basically, the other side didn’t defend the allegations of our client, so we were applying to the court to have a default win. I prepared the bulk of the documentation that would ultimately go in the hands of the judge. The consultant in charge of my work basically had a quick skim and some details explained by the trainee solicitor in charge of my work, and that was that.
I felt, in a sense, like a squire. But in the good sort of way– in the way that when you watch the real lawyers out there on the floor, talking to the judge and arguing something, you know that the points they are making are points that you put on those papers.
I think I’m feeling a bit nostalgic about it, despite that it was only three weeks, because it has been an incredibly packed three weeks. I knew by the time that I attended the Christmas party, at the end of week one, that I wanted to work for these guys– there’s a definite feeling of family in the way they carry themselves. I enjoyed working with a lot of these people. I enjoyed making some friends out of colleagues who were serious about their work– a level of ambition that is I’ve found so often lacking among my classmates. Maybe it’s a sign that I’m starting to get a bit too old for school, and that I need to be back on the workforce again.
But who knows if I’ll actually be offered a contract or not– I don’t find out until August which is so far away that my situation might have considerably changed by them.
Anyway, the plan now is to go back to Sydney, finish my degree (by the end of February) and start applying for more grad positions. Hong Kong was great, but it is necessarily just another fire-and-forget missile. I wonder when I will tire of this lifestyle of shots in the dark with a shotgun, of “spray and pray,” and I hope I don’t tire before I can find a place to work that I can really feel a part of. Because otherwise?
Otherwise, getting to know people, making friends, settling in– all of it just to leave in a month or two? It gets draining. I don’t want to make new friends anymore. I don’t want to relate to new people. I want to keep some friends and stay in one place long enough to build some real history, beyond a few drinks. I want to be able to reminisce.