Today, five Japanese interns got together for a webinar on what it's like to work as an intern for su-re.co from Japan. When I asked if I didn't have to attend, they said no, so I secretly watched it on Facebook Live (^^;).
I'm not involved in the interns' selection process, and I generally have an initial face-to-face meeting with the new interns at the beginning of the month when they arrive to say "hello". I also look at quite a few declined emails (all emails are shared), so the people who are selected as interns are usually the best students. As we run an output-oriented, fully flexible company, we didn't know the details of how our interns worked.
In this webinar, I was given a visualisation of the daily schedule and, to my embarrassment, I finally understood their daily life. Before Corona started, we worked in the same office, so I didn't realise that the Japanese interns were doing their internships in between going to university and taking courses. After they started their internship, some had to move their part-time jobs from weekdays to weekends. I felt sorry for them, but they took it in their stride.
For example, it is impossible to do an internship abroad without leaving an absence unless it is an online internship. Akane, who plays lacrosse five days a week, said she would have had to give up lacrosse if she had done the internship normally. So, she was happy that she could combine lacrosse, albeit with a more demanding schedule. Rather than giving up their internship because they couldn't go abroad, they took it as a positive and did an online internship, which was a plus for them.
In the "what was the plus" session, they all said that their English had improved, which is not surprising. Specifically, they said they had improved their TOEFL score by about 10 points and their TOEIC score from the mid 700s to over 800. They also said that they have gained language skills and the ability to communicate with people from other cultures who are willing to speak their mind. There is a joke at the UN that is sometimes told that the best chairperson is the one who shuts up the Indians and lets the Japanese speak, which is a racist joke. However, it is a fact that Japanese people do not speak in meetings. So, it was more meaningful for me if they improve the skill than to improve English.
All of them also said that they learned how to use time and be proactive. Specifically, they were able to think in terms of the OODA cycle instead of the PDCA cycle. In our company, we think and act on our own. At the same time, all actions are shared via chat or email so that if you make a mistake, someone can follow up. In other words, we don't consult and then act; we act and then correct any problems. This is not PDCA; it is OODA. However, in large part, PDCA is the way we work. I'll write more about this another time.
Anyway, I was moved to tears that everyone contributed so much to su-re.co, even sparing time to sleep. I need to make sure that I can provide smart climate agriculture and clean energy to our farmers, as we have promised to do. And I really want to make sure that we are a company that they can look back to when they get older.