Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

Taking on More Responsibility Than You Can Handle=Taking on More Responsibility that You THINK You Can’t Handle

It has been a month since I have started my internship in Hongzheng, an environmental technology startup in Wenzhou, China. I have been working with the head product manager for a month now. Let’s call him David for his personal protection. David and I have been working closely on developing a new project for the company, launching an anti-germ spray. The spray is based on new nanotechnology and has great advantages over similar products on the market. It is exciting to be a part of the launching team for a product with bright future.

I am confident that I have been doing a fine job assisting David for various matters, but I was no longer an assistant after June 28th–David was fired, and there was no one for me to assist. It shocked me when my direct boss was fired. I bet you would, too, if your boss got fired in front of you. However, I learned an important lesson–one who blames and runs away from his or her responsibility will not hold the job for long.

The CEO and I had a little chat after David was fired. He talked about why he had decided to fire the manager, David, who is one of the original founding partners, and also one of his close friends. The CEO agrees that David is a man with abilities, but the core reason for such decision is David has lost his characteristic of being responsible. He has been passing the buck to other. David could not make a single decision by himself because he never wants to be the one taking on the consequences. The CEO believes the benefits of manager role has caused David to lose the courage to make mistakes. “A man who cannot take on responsibility will never succeed. No matter how talented he or she is.” The CEO tells me at the end of the conversation, “and only thus who takes on the challenges that are out of his or her expectations will grow and shine.”

I was quite sure the CEO was subtly encouraging me, and I decided to voluntarily take over and continue the project until the CEO finds a fine manager to fill in for David. It was an overwhelming challenge indeed. I spent more than 12 hours on June 28th just to collect and sort out all the related matters regarding the spray, including lab reports, user feedbacks, packing designs, measures, placements, etc..

It has been a week since I am in charge of the anti-germ spray. I have worked for over 12 hours for 5 days out of the week. I have not gotten paid. I have lost chances to go out with my childhood buddies at night. I have learned more in a week than I did in past month. It was worth all the efforts.

Guys, do something that is not required as an intern. Show your boss what you truly are capable of. Show em that Babson students are no joke. Don’t be limited by your “intern” title.