Sunday, June 16, 2013

Corporate Cameron

Who would have thought that after less than a month I'd be heading back to Ontario?

A couple weeks ago, I boarded a plane to Toronto. But no, don't worry, I wasn't giving up. Accounting had not chewed me up and spit me out. Nor had I been fired for my lack of accounting expertise, happily. No, instead I was going on a business trip.

I don't think anything can sum up the feeling of joining the corporate world than a business trip. It was to be a whirlwind trip - board a plane at 7pm on Tuesday and be back by 6pm on Wednesday.

I am incredibly lucky that I even got the experience. 5 days before we left, the CFO of the company - the man who hired me - stopped by my desk (not something that happens very often, let me assure you). "I'm going on a business trip to Toronto. IT stuff. You can come if you want." And that was basically it. If you've forgotten as far back as two paragraphs ago already, I will remind you that I'm not in the IT department. I know very little about IT stuff in general. And so it was clear that the only reason I'd be going was for the experience, and I am so grateful to be working in a place where my employers are intent on giving me opportunities like these.

The trip itself was a lot of fun. I flew out with the Head of IT, who was laid back and fun to travel with. I got a hotel room all to myself (first time in my life!). And every meal and every taxi was of course covered.

I'm going to be a little vague about the trip itself, because I learned some stuff that is actually a little bit "sensitive", at least internally (not excitingly sensitive, just stuff that hasn't yet been announced to employees. I'm the first to know!).

What I can tell you is that we met with an IT company in the GTA and we had a meeting with them in their office. Probably the most exciting part was when they gave us a tour of their office. It was a very cool environment, with high ceilings and a lot of open space, monitors everywhere (which, for our tour, were displaying "Welcome Cameron Revington!" along with the names of my colleagues) and even an indoor faux-ice hockey rink.

They showered us with free stuff, and I couldn't help but feel a little embarrassed that they were spending money on me! Sure, give the CFO free stuff, and the Head of IT, too. Those are worthwhile expenses, but the lowly crop inputs summer student accountant? I dunno... But I'm appreciating my new t-shirt and hockey puck and fancy pen lots.

I didn't exactly do or say much myself. I was regularly reminded that I could ask questions if I wanted at any time, but I was a little bit too in awe to actually do that, it seems. I mean, for starters, I wouldn't consider myself to be very knowledgeable about IT in the first place, and that's what all of the conversations revolved around. Some of the tech stuff they talked about seemed unbelievably cool to me (it was like how I felt when I finally upgraded my old Nokia to a Blackberry) though I'm sure that if you follow the tech industry, it wouldn't exactly be news to you. So I basically watched and listened and drank the complimentary coffee and ate the complimentary meal and took it all in.

Reminding everyone that for me, a huge part of this summer is to see and experience the corporate/for-profit world, this trip was a very valuable experience. After the President of this IT company had just finished some high-tech demonstrations and explanations, my CFO joked that I would be immediately switching majors to computer science. While this wasn't the case, the visit got me thinking about the for-profit world a little more. Between my office and this IT one we visited, I was seeing what the corporate world can offer which the public service doesn't necessarily share on the same level - an exciting dynamism, innovation and growth.

So no, I don't want to be an accountant yet, nor a computer engineer. But maybe, just maybe, I would entertain the idea of being a private sector employee.

This coming week, I should be heading off on another business trip, though substantially different from this last one. I'll be driving up to Strathclair, MB to one of our stations. Can't wait to see how it changes my perspectives and to share that with you!


I'm experimenting with the requests for "shorter, more frequent" posts. This is shorter, I think. I'll have to see if I can get the "frequent" part going...

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