Evidently, school does not teach you everything. But before I get into my first day at work, let me give you some background information.
For my study abroad program, I am working an internship in the mornings and taking a Spanish class in the afternoon. The company I am working for is incredible and I am so excited that I have to opportunity to work with the director of the company. This company employs individuals with physical or mental disabilities and they make dolls and other crafts to be sold at their storefront. All of the items are handmade and the machines are modified so that the employees are able to use them despite any disability.
Now, let me describe my day. I was a little nervous, as I was not sure if I would understand everything the boss wanted me to do and I had no idea what types of tasks I should expect to be doing. Nevertheless, I was excited for my first day. As I was on my way to his office, I was asked to wait in a different office while he finished a phone call. Okay, not a problem I thought to myself. Twenty minutes pass. Finally, another employee informs me that the boss is very busy at the moment and that I am going to work somewhere else for a bit and someone will come find me later. Okay, I can roll with this. So, I follow the employee out of the office and into the workshop where some employees are making dolls. Cool, I am going to be taking inventory or organizing. I can do that. I am introduced to the head of the workshop and he explains some of the processes (*quick reminder that this is all happening in Spanish*). Next thing I know, he pulls up a chair in front of one of the sewing machines and tells me to observe. Hahahahahahah what? I have never used a sewing machine in my entire life (S/O to public school for deciding that home economics was not a required class). Anyway, I watch someone sew a sleeve onto the shirt and I start to relax a little bit. This won’t be too hard. But then, he hands me an entire stack of material for each part of the shirt. This includes the front, back, sleeves, and collar. He then tries to explain to me how to sew everything together. You have got to be kidding. I know this is not rocket science, but he was not showing me how to do this with the machine. He was just pointing at the pieces and telling me how it fits together. Plus, you cannot just walk up to something new and magically be able to make it work. Anytime someone from the main office wants to come save me, that would be great. I explain that I have not used the machine before and he explains everything again. Okay, maybe I can at least try this. He leaves for a moment and I line up the material and step on the pedal. Nothing happens. I try a few more times and still nothing happens. Remember how I said the machines are modified? Yeah, that includes the sewing machines. Apparently, there is an “on” button on the side of the table and shockingly enough you have to push it in order for the machine to work. At this point I am just trying to hold in laughter. Wow I really wish I would have listened when mom told me it would be good to take a sewing class. Thankfully, he comes back and senses my confusion. We step away from the machine and he shows me around the entire workshop and explains to me everything that they do. There isn’t a lot I can say, so I just smile and nod. Eventually, we run out of things to talk about so we walk back over to the sewing machines. Ugh. But this time it’s clear that I am not supposed to sew, just observe. (Did he ever expect me to sew? Was he just trying to explain the process? Did he expect me to sew until he realized I had absolutely no idea what to do? The world will never know). From that point on, I just watched people sew and never had to sew anything *phew.* Unfortunately, though, I was never called back to the main office. My day was definitely not as planned, but at least I learned a lot about the production side of the company.
Takeaways from today’s struggles: communication is important and take a sewing class.