IEEPA. My current placement.
When I first got my post for my placement with CRCC Asia, I was sceptical. But I read the duties, researched the company and it actually seemed interesting and relevant to modern China.
On their website they state to be, ‘a professional international organization engaged in sustainable construction of the economy and environment.’ Their work can be separated into three different sections; Consultation and Research, Capacity Building and Project support. Their main aim is to seek the coordination, development between economy and environment, research industry development and market mechanism in energy conservation and emission reduction fields.
However, doubt put aside I thought this placement would be interesting, fulfilling and I would learn a lot. First day on the job and I was excited, I suited up even put my hair in a ponytail to look more clean and professional. I met my supervisor, he seemed nice but he was hard to understand. I was placed at a desk on the other side of the office, separated by at least two metres. The office was silent, the unnerving kind of silent. My whole day was spent filling in one admin form and reading their website. I had zero work and no one was introduced to me nor did anyone talk to me. Being the first day I assumed it would pick up tomorrow. But again on day two, I was told to read their website and maybe even look into international aid projects within China. Once researched I was meant to write up a report on it, explaining what it is, finances and even procurement details. My supervisor asked me to search projects they as a company could join.
My initial reaction was confusion. How would an inexperienced intern know how to apply for such a project with the UN or World Bank? Secondly, I did not even know the profile of the company to see if they were eligible for bidding. With this in mind I questioned him several times to no avail. He did not seem to either understand what I was asking or could not be bothered to even help me. He just told me over and over, research a project that is either underway on in the pipelines and avoided telling me how to even begin to comprehend the application process or to even find out if companies could apply.
In terms of the office atmosphere, it is still unnerving. No one still interacts with me. I even introduced myself to them on the second day, added a co-worker on WeChat (mobile app) yet I still sit in the office on my own, in silence. I spoke to my programme about this issue within the first week and now it is the fourth and I am preparing to leave, FINALLY. But in terms of my placement, I was and still am unhappy. CRCC Asia (my programme) spoke to my supervisor about my issues and his reply;
1) We place all our interns here; it just happens you are the only one. (Even though there are like 6 empty tables around him and the other colleagues)
2) Only about three people here speak English. (So what about the other three? They cannot manage hello)
3) His invitation to lunch was ‘Do you like Chinese food? There are many restaurants on the ground floor. If not you can go to KFC or McDonalds’’ Then he returned to his table to eat. Even the other colleagues before the clock strikes 12 rush out and get food.
4) Work. No matter how small or menial the task is, you should do it to the best of your ability. (which means sending emails and proof reading either his own emails before they are sent or his English translations.) I am not meaning to complain but how am I meant to show my skill set with sending emails?
My attempts to fix these issues have failed. IEEPA even once hired another intern, a local and she left within two days. She had the same feelings about this place as me and she was even being paid! Granted it was not much, but it was still more of an incentive to come in than I have! She felt she too was being left out, the work she was given was not worth her time nor did she like our supervisor. I feel that if she feels the same as I do, then there is something wrong with this company. She even went as far to say she feels this company is a “paper company”. To an extent I feel it might be true. Why are they registered in the US? What projects do they actually do, because when I ask to see I get shrugged off…
Just last week I in all honesty wanted to pack up and leave. My supervisor essentially told me I have little to no job prospects with my degree. It just took him a good 30 minutes of my time for him to repeat the same point. It first started with talk about my work, and then moved swiftly on to why I am not doing a Master degree. I then told him I was not sure what I want to specialise in and I perhaps want to work before to raise the funds for the degree. When he asked me what I was thinking of doing and my degree this is what he said (but in a more broken way);
‘Oh I don’t think you will get a job with your degree. What will make you stand out from the others? Your degree is not specialised, you will not get picked.’
When I mentioned a job in marketing, I was told it was too difficult for me. Apparently marketing has nothing to do with my History and English degree. I need to study economics and business to be able to work in this sector. To an extent I can see where he comes from but I told him marketing here in China is different to the UK. There are areas where I am not required know these. I can write reports on trends, I can be more creative and help sell or advertise but again I feel he was closed minded and kept saying the same thing over and over disregarding my point. To further infuriate me, he kept asking me what I thought and shooting me down. The great part is that this is not the first time it has happened.
So my overall my placement here at IEEPA is not the greatest in the world. There have been far more negatives and rarely any good ones. None if I think about it. But things are looking up; I have a new apartment lined up and also a new placement. A New Year and a fresh start, so I am prayer and crossing my fingers that things are only going to get better!