Networking as an Intern
As an intern, I found myself sometimes so engulfed in my work and daily tasks that I would barely take the time to look up and notice my surroundings. I would miss the small talk by the water machine or the people chatting in the break room. As a small, newly opened branch in Tokyo, the atmosphere was always very relaxed. Therefore, many of the employees were quite close to each other and many were very friendly with me as well. However, I would often neglect small invitations to take a break with them as I was usually focused on getting my tasks done for the day. Until one day, I took the invitation and actually sat down with a few coworkers to take a break. Many of them were genuinely interested in who I was and where I was from and eagerly asked me about everything from my childhood to my future career goals. While explaining and discussing, I was met by many suggestions, pieces of advice, and even coworkers telling me they could get me in contact with mentors. I was surprised and overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness of my coworkers. After this experience, I took the time to talk with more of my coworkers beyond the office setting. Again, many were actually interested in talking and helping me, and so was I.
I realized how important it is to get to know your coworkers not just as your coworkers, but also on a more personal level, potentially even as mentors. Occasionally saying yes to the small talk or the dinner after work will not hurt you. Even if you feel buried in work, try to take the time to talk to the people you work with in a more casual setting. You never know what could come of it!