I’m INFECTED: My life as a Virus, Inc. intern – Month 1

First off, no, my office isn’t haunted, though we did take some time before work hours one morning–me, Arra, Helen, and Jovel–to tell ghost stories.  It was an especially timely topic of conversation as, the day before, Arra had to be the one to close up shop at the office.

It’s been a month and fourteen days since I joined Virus, Inc., and obviously time to blog has been pretty thin on the ground.

To be fair, this isn’t because I’m being treated as the stereotypical workhorse intern.  Work-life balance is a strict Virus policy, and I’m constantly being asked to relax, calm down, slow down, and in one case take my cold medication, which one of my supervisors, André, demanded I take, handing me Bioflu and Vitamin C from the office medicine cabinet.  He stood in the doorway and watched me drink it down, then promptly reminded me, four hours later in the middle of a BD planning session, to take my next dose.

Talk about employee health benefits!

I understand their concern though.  This month has taught me just how critical it is for a Business Development Manager to be on her feet.  I’ve spent a good portion of my work hours out of the office, either in transit or making client calls, and when I’m not pitching I’m usually making contact reports, brainstorming in meetings, debriefing, decking, revising decks, or juggling all of the above.  Since it’s the end of the year, we’ve been aggregating all our final pitches in preparation for the end-of-year strategy session and next year’s client list.  I’ve also learned a little bit of how to do Social Media/FB analytics from Mike (Virus’ Associate Director of Business Development) and Duqs (Head of Virus’ Analytics department), two of the many Dragon U alumni who call Virus, Inc. home.  I am now a proud evangelist of the Social Bakers application, which I mine with all the gusto of a self-confessed Google ninja.

Also, a quick side-note: you can actually get a migraine from over-obsessive Keynote layouting.  Did I really have to do an AE art mimic of the Instagram and Twitter interfaces for my first ever solo pitch-deck?  Probably not.  But hey, it looked cool!It’s not all work, though.  They weren’t kidding when, during my orientation, I was told Virus was like a family.  Of course, no family is complete without a rag-tag pack of hyperactive, older siblings, and I’ve found these in the combined Social Media/BD sisterhood, composed of Helen, Arra, Nike, Jovel, and fellow Dragon U batch 2009-mate, Roch(iepops), all watched over by the very regal Rashmi, Virus’ head of strategy/social media, and another Dragon U alum.  As the youngest of the pack, I’ve often the butt of the joke (or the meme, courtesy of Nike), or else the progenitor of a few, but it’s all in good fun and the fact that I have an office “barkada” means a lot to this perennially socially-awkward “LonelyGirl.”

This past month, I’ve more or less found my place in the Virus ecosystem, transitioning from the “silent attacker” sitting by the door to the BD office, to the loud ‘Intern 2’ who, accompanied by Social Media Manager Nike Amistoso (a.k.a. DJ Amistocino), has been known to suddenly start dancing in her seat for no apparent reason, and to no apparent music.  While I have learned to watch my volume (unfortunately, I haven’t yet grown out of my tendency to get too loud when overexcited), I’ve otherwise been accepted as yet another quirky member of the Virus family, perhaps due in part to the fact that I went to work dressed as the Eleventh Doctor once, and got caught doing a Matt Smith-style spin on my heels on the way to the bathroom.

One of our board of directors has even commented that I constantly seem to have a bubble of happy energy around me–ironic, because I’m one of the most emo people I know…

…except it’s sort of hard to be emo when you’re constantly plowing through meaningful work in the middle of what I’ve essentially begun to identify as “my people.  Team Virus are my people, and Virus HQ has become, in a sense, the sort of third-place that Starbucks Pearl was to me during my reign as Pearl’s resident Lonelygirl.

On some level, I have to acknowledge that the working world is harder than university, in the sense that I have less slack time (I never realized just how much free time I had in uni until now, honestly.), and that sometimes requirements come rapid-fire with tighter deadlines.  But despite agency life being, admittedly, busy, it’s also exciting–every “little win” (as our president, Miguel Quesada, put it in his closing remarks during our annual team building) is celebrated, every challenge faced head-on as an opportunity to learn.

I’m still learning–my office catchphrase is a toss-up between “Noted!” and “Roger that!”–and there are times that, to be honest, I feel frustrated and rather slow, scribbling notes frantically in my black Muji notebook and trying to keep up with my more IMC-savvy peers.  There are more variables to digital marketing than I’d realized, and occasionally I worry that I’m in over my head (not to mention my thesis).  I’m not looked at as an intern here, and that means the (largely self-administered) pressure to show the same competence as a full-on employee can occasionally induce fits of self-doubt.  But I’m learning to take everything a day–or a task–at a time, saying “heck yeah!” to challenges (very Emma Approved, n’est pas?) instead of inwardly cowering in the fear that I will royally screw up and shame Team Virus.

If you’d ask sophomore me, the girl who famously shunned the IMC applications because she felt the course was “too hard” for her, if she would have imagined working in a marketing agency, her answer would have been something along the lines of “Are you crazy?  I don’t belong there!”  Thankfully, sophomore me was very, very wrong about many things (including her choice of unrequited love interests, but that’s another story), and I guess this is one of them.

Abangan, ang susunod na kabanata!

(Yes, I’m sort of learning to speak better Filipino here.  I still sound Bisaya though.)

~ARoamingTsinay~

P.S.
In case you were all wondering about the Nerf gun battles…they’re still ongoing.  So far it’s Andre and Mike – 10, Jaba – 0, and occasional friendly fire.

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