I recently graduated from a University here in Korea. Days to my graduation, I was a little conflicted and thought to myself, should I join a team and see how it goes with working on a real project. It was mid-February and Korea has started recording a rise in confirmed COVID-19 cases. In Campus, we had already been notified that we will not have a commencement ceremony for those graduating in order to exercise social distancing. Things were not getting any better soon, because the more days went on, the more it started getting scary in Korea as numbers shot even high.
An internship at Xoxzo came in handy to distract me from what was going on. I was super excited about my first time of getting to see how the remote-work culture goes. Also, the diversity that came with the team at Xoxzo was unmatched. The team had people from different nationalities bringing in their different perspectives. And here is a recap of my how my typical life was a remote intern at Xoxzo:
1. Dedicated Workspace
Days before starting my internship, I began setting up my desk and my whole workspace in general. I was so excited about experimenting on this for the very first time. Also, it came at an interesting time when social isolation and social distancing was highly encouraged, commonly known as WFH-Work From Home.
I realized how communication is so vital in a remote working environment. And that involves selection of tools to enhance communication and remove the disconnect that comes with distance. I got introduced to new tools that I had never used before like Jira and Confluence. I had used collaboration platforms like Slack before though. But being part of a remote team gave me the hands-on experience of how an agile environment looks like. With hands-on experience with Jira and Confluence to apply the agile principles. I am now able to slowly adapt to the agility mindset.
3. Vibrant Team
The team was very supportive. In fact, I could easily access them. And whenever they had a chance, we could hop into a phone call. I was technically mentored by Kamal. And one thing Kamal constantly reminded me, is having a plan; setting my own if a plan is not there and reviewing it. Most important takeaway I got was that I am the master of my own work and I should always think of myself not working alone but within a team. I should always have that in mind. And making sure everyone has an idea of what I am working on. And that emphasizes the point of communication. On countless times he really stressed on communication, hooting your own horn.
4. Xoxzo Culture
I easily adapted to the culture which had a team members weekly meeting known as Monday Call. This was a quick meeting to learn about our weekly progress based on the 3QF – What did I do last week? What do I plan to do this week? Any issues/announcements I have? It was always a great time to reflect upon the past week, review, re-energize and start anew. It was also a great time for the team to spot any small win and clap for it.
I also participated in the first recorded session of Xoxzo LearnDay. LearnDay is a monthly seminar where few selected members present on a given topic and steer discussions. Geraldo presented on “Best Sleep Practices” while Surya presented on “Doughnut Economics.” It was interesting to listen to different perspectives on things outside work that affect our lives in different ways.
I struggled with impostor syndrome at times. This resulted in not knowing where to start resulting to self-doubt in sometimes. I lost confidence whenever I could not solve a problems too. But I learnt to take it in a positive way and gather enough courage to never stop asking. Applying the knowledge I already had into practice was also another challenge. Having an academic technical background, I had the knowledge yes, but implementing it in a project was a whole new world for me.
Being open-source, merge conflicts were a real pain too. Sometimes I would mess up with my repository and wonder what to do with them. But I managed to navigate through them with assistance from online resources.
The experience has been very much fulfilling. Coupled with cool emojis and chats on the watercooler Slack channel. Watercooler is a channel that we used to connect and just talk or rant about tech or life outside work. It offered a great chance to relax. It was also a great selfcare strategy to remove us from the grind for a few minutes.
Past few days my has seen me grow my network and skills, and this has been an important step in my learning. I have been surrounded by an incredibly inspiring team. Onwards!