WHEN I started working here I was very lost. I was enthusiastic and happy, sure, but so lost on the methods of product development. Knowing full well that I hadn’t done anything PD-related during my studies, I was confident that a good attitude and lots of hard work would get me to the fame, wealth and success I’d set as my goals. Working alongside an industrial designer would also be a new, exciting and yet very challenging opportunity, but I’m so social that of course we would get along well and be efficient, bold and beautiful as a team, right?
Lost in R&D
WELL, as an engineering student I’ve solved mathematical problems pretty much all my life. Strict mathematical rules, unambiguously correct answers and cold logic, that’s what I’m good at. However, when getting started on a product development project and in order to create something scientific you have to do things that, at least for me, seem quite unscientific.
“So”, I thought to myself, “where should I start?” Studying, of course! What I wanted to do was fill my head with knowledge on paper manufacturing, since I had to, naturally, possess a far above-average level of expertise on a process before trying to alter it in any way.
Beep! Wrong! You’re supposed to let your thoughts flow out freely, even with minimal to no knowledge on the subject, silly! In all of the few PD-related workshops I’ve attended, the main point has been not to get too caught up in details, at least not in the beginning. It’s also important not to grab on to the first good idea that comes up, since it’s possible you’d have a dozen better ones still on their way.
Of course we would be efficient, bold and beautiful as a team, right?
WHAT ABOUT teamwork, then? My CV says I can work with all kinds of people, so that’s obviously what I do. Just throw in a nice joke every now and then and it’ll be great.
Beeep! Wroong! Even being positive, energetic and extrovert won’t work on everyone, and they might even see it as threatening behavior. On top of that, the stereotypical Finn might think that you’re fake.
Whether the topic is good or bad, the ability to communicate with each other is key practically everywhere. Taking work-related issues personally, getting offended and all that, is just nonsense, and yet it can still happen way too easily. I believe the last time I was, without justification, annoyed by my partner proposing a different approach on something was this morning! Though I’ve improved on many aspects here, I’m still thinking of revising that phrase I have in my CV. But don’t get me wrong – I feel like I can and want to work with all kinds of people, but now I also know that in some cases it ain’t gonna be a walk in the park.
Even being positive, energetic and extrovert won’t work on everyone.
I’VE HONESTLY got a bit of a feeling that I was caught somewhat off-guard this summer. As a man of no clichés I can’t say that it has been an irreplaceable lesson for me, but I’ll say this: it’s better to be confused as a summer trainee, since it’s much more difficult to make things crash, explode and burn now, than it might be later on.
And of course, making errors and being confused is, dear reader, an excellent way of educating oneself.