Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Ok here I am at work. Work you may ask? Yes, its been almost 6 months since my previous post, and how things have changed. Period.

Finished my second year of studies in SMU, now moving on to my third (God I feel old), and having my long summer holidays now. But no I got an internship during the holidays not only to “pass the time” but to satisfy the 10 week internship requirement the school has set. So yeah here I am working at International Flavors and Fragrances, an MNC tasked with the responsibility of creating scents for perfumers, house care products and hair care products as well; and flavors for food and beverage products like Coca-cola and Fritto Lays. Its amazing how the people here are effectively the silent heroes of the enviable job of feeding the world. Here we are extolling the ingenuity of such a wonderful and addictive flavor the pack of Doritos has, yet it never occurred to us that the flavor isn’t even their own creation, they bought it from the company I’m working in now. Me? I’m attached to the sales department and am the understudy for the manager in charge of the regional Coca-cola, Danone and San Miguel accounts. Good fun, it never occurred to me that the base flavor of Vanilla Coke was our creation, nor did I know how HUGE San Miguel was, and not just in the Philippines. My boss is an American lady, very bubbly and nice, if a little laissez-faire since she assigns the work to me and leaves me to figure it out. Of course she’s always available and always ready to answer my queries, so its not that bad since I’m not afraid to ask and learn. The only thing I’m cribbing about is that I don’t get enough work. No really. Now that I go through actual work, I now understand how people get themselves going through an 8 hour shift. I can barely survive a 3 hour class, and before this I wondered how in hell I was going to survive 5 extra hours, now I know that the only way to stay awake at work is really, to do work. Ironically its days when I have nothing to do that I go home tired, otherwise I go home totally energized. You cannot possibly begin to imagine how TIRING it is to be cooped up in a cubicle neck-high (meaning everyone can still see you) and sitting there with absolutely nothing to do and forcing yourself to stay awake in vain. I have to stay awake cuz the cubicles are in the middle, while the perimeter of the office is taken by all the big-shots you can possibly imagine in a regional headquarters for operations in the Asia Pacific region, sitting behind glass walls and ever watchful for stragglers and heavy eyelids. I have comp with a decent internet connection, but my comp’s a Pentium I, yes you heard me right. Doing ANYTHING on this comp is nothing short of pure torture, the comp crashes with anything more than 2 internet explorer windows open, it can barely stay alive with Word, Excel and Powerpoint open, and it f***’s up your foolproof “save-after-1-sentence” data-loss prevention method by crashing HALFWAY through a save. So the comp is as good as not there, so there basically is really nothing to keep me interested long enough to stay awake. It’s still ok if my boss is around coz I can always just ask her for more work, but nope, being the regional manager is hard work as she’s in almost on alternate weeks, one week in Singapore the next in Shanghai u get the idea. So can u imagine, your boss is not around to keep you busy especially if you’ve finished the work she’s assigned you before she left, you still have to wake up early, take 2 bus rides to come to work, and to do what? Stay awake. I try to busy myself by helping my other colleagues with ANYTHING, I’ve done almost everything from helping them fill up their coffees from the pantry, photocopying stuff for them, fixing their comps to digging out jello to put into small cups in preparation for a food tasting survey. Still I have trouble staying awake, so go figure how much I’ve done yet still end up having to go back to my cubicle with nothing to do but stay awake. But today my boss is back, and I’ll be meeting her later to show her my completed work and be ready for more work, so I’ll try to keep this post going till I have to meet her heh…
But enough complaining about work. The fun part’s my colleagues as well =) these guys have been together for a good number of years so they’ve set out some routines, such as tennis on Thursdays. I tagged along once even tho I knew shit about tennis, and boy was it good fun to realize that these guys have as much fun competing who could hit more balls over the fence and beyond the condominium boundaries as they did playing tennis. Its like watching world cup all over again: “Oh Matsui-san scores a wonderful streaker over the fence with ease. And there he is again, the goal machine, at it again with another beautiful shot. Oh look, Xuess is back within a shot after scoring a looping shot over the fence! Its 2 – 1 now, can Xuess reclaim his title of Champion scorer? Or will Matsui-san overtake Xuess as the King of screw-up shots? OH MY GOODNESS, Xuess scores AGAIN. WE HAVE A TIE!!! Yvonne SCORES! We have a rookie having a shot at the title as well!!! Oh that looks to be going over….but NO! It hit the condominium wall and bounces back!!! Xuess does NOT score, the score is STILL TIED, my my what excitement!!! WAIT, MATSUI-SAN SCORES!!!! WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION!!!” Evidently these guys very easily instilled some interest in tennis in me in just one session. Just the day before I went with a whole bunch of my colleagues to watch Troy. I really enjoyed the movie, but I wouldn’t say it was a good movie, since as an apreciator of Greek Mythology, I felt it was an insult to compress an ardous decade long war into 2 weeks even if it was for a movie, and Archilles was never supposed to be even there, even if they managed to really portray pretty well Archilles as your natural-born certified magna cum laude warrior. After the movie, I told the colleague who bought the tickets, “Eh Melinda, you bought wrongly lah, the ticket here says Troy but I’m damn sure the movie was Lord of the Rings.” And she was like “HUH?!?!” eyes-popping and all, as to which my reply was just “I mean didn’t u see Legolas fighting in the battle of Troy?” >=)

This internship’s gonna last me till 6 August, 1 week before the start of the new term. Its been pretty enriching so far to learn a fair bit about the behind-the-scenes of the flavor and scent industry. As soon as my current boss is finished with me (that didn’t sound too right), I’d be transferred over the the fragrance department, and there the fun really starts. U get to try out new shampoo formulas (yes, they really wash your hair for you like in the salons and then ask you for ur opinions), smell new fragrances due to be launched etc. Sounds like fun =)

Dr@n|xX at 10:32 AM