By Gretel Tassah
I come from a first-generation Cameroonian American household, meaning: I grew up with plantains instead of pancakes as the egg-compliment to my breakfast, wore the occasional afritude dress to church, and always acknowledged but never fully understood the importance of seizing opportunity. After completing Genesys Works’ rigorous summer skills training and earning my internship at Land O’Lakes this past summer, the importance of it hit me.
Never in my life have I had so much opportunity and support to be successful, let alone provided by a Fortune 200 company. I’ll admit, being virtual does have its drawbacks with Zoom fatigue, staying focused, and only knowing coworkers as pixelated images. However, the silver linings overcome any doubts or hesitation in my decision to join Genesys Works. Remote work also means a flexible schedule, a trust system, and an expanded network, all from the comforts of my home.
Productivity can take place anytime, anywhere, but this time with a great work-life balance. Having a flexible schedule allows for the choice of optimal hours that enables productivity, alertness, and readiness to start my workday. Once clocked in, I’m able to spend time developing impactful projects. I’m currently working on producing a playbook to outline Land O’ Lakes’ data management processes toward product launch for Dairy Foods. Being remote has allowed for more creativity as I determine the direction taken with this project. I’m free to roam the data management database to search for the pieces that solve a business process initiative’s ambiguous puzzle. It’s rewarding to have so much control over my assignments; it makes it feel like my voice is being heard and respected. On top of this, now I have time to go to that tech workshop I’ve been meaning to attend; sit in on a business meeting to learn more about my company; or, just sneak a quick check-in with my supervisor.
However, having so much freedom does come with responsibility. There is a fundamental trust system between an intern and supervisor. Having an ideal space to work, serene quiet, and just the right atmosphere to be 100 percent motivated every day is not realistic. There are days when I feel exhausted and want to relax. What keeps me going is the trust system I have established with my supervisors. I know they believe in my abilities and are counting on me to do my part to help me have a successful and worthwhile internship. During times of restlessness, I allow myself to take a break, whether that be a five-minute trip to get a snack or going outside just to feel the fresh air. Additionally, I have a great support system. As a Genesys Works intern, my managers care about my wellbeing as an individual. I can be transparent about needing to have a day off, the monotony that sometimes comes with long assignments, or simply how my day is going.
My network within my internship is more than a job connection; it’s a network of understanding and genuine mentorship. The community I’ve been supported with through Genesys Works and Land O’ Lakes has made working from home something to look forward to.
Gretel Tassah is a Class of 2021 intern who currently holds a position at Land O’Lakes, Inc. She is also a student ambassador for the Genesys Works program, seeking to recruit the next class of young professionals from her high school, White Bear Lake Area High School.