Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

An Experience with Setbacks and Frustration

Dealing with setbacks and mistakes in day to day life can be frustrating, but can be even worse if it happens at work. In R&D, many projects succeed easily and others become a long process of facing bottlenecks and technical difficulties. Like the entrepreneurial process, the projects and new products start off as ideas, then the project needs to be funded, and teams within the department are put together to work on the projects. Then, the project can go through multiple rounds of feedback, such as focus groups or surveys before being released. Since I was working in the Digital department, most projects I have worked on are related to websites or technology for education and tools within WGBH.

One of the most difficult projects I worked on this summer was drones. We wanted to use drones to filming video footage and eventually move on to using a 360 degree rig with multiple GoPro cameras to create an immersive 360 experience for virtual reality in places that can be too dangerous for a reporter to go to and to provide a new perspective. Although setting up and flying the drone was the first step for this process, there were many setbacks. The first drone that was set up was able to fly, but crashed on its first flight and broke apart. The second drone, which was what I was working on, ran into major technical difficulties. The drones we were flying were fairly advanced, but something went wrong during a firmware update where the drone would beep but become unresponsive. I was not able to figure out what went wrong so I was in contact with the company that sold the drones for weeks trying to troubleshoot, with no improvement. Eventually, we decided to abandon the drone and look at new brands and types. This setback was frustrating for me and I felt like I disappointed myself and my boss for not being able to troubleshoot and fix it, but also gained an understanding that this was not the first time a project in the department has gotten a major setback and it was a normal part of the entrepreneurial process and in R&D. Ironically, I feel that going through this struggle has made me a better person because not everything will work out smoothly every time.