Voting: There is NEVER a reason to be silent

May 22, 2014 in Activism, Politics, Slideshow

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I realise it’s been an age since I posted on here, but today I have had a few messages asking me to explain why I feel so passionately that people should exercise their right to vote. By the same token, I’ve seen a few disheartening statuses from people who feel such a sense of disillusionment with UK politics that they see no point at all in partaking in the election process. My answer to you is: THERE IS NEVER A REASON TO BE SILENT. 

I understand completely why so many people feel alienated from the political process, or so severely let down by those who claim to represent us. I understand that you feel that the politicians are in the pay of big business, that all the major parties are the same, that no one is representing your views, that the smaller parties and independents don’t stand a hope in hell, that the political system of our country is broken or, devastatingly, that you believe voting doesn’t change anything.

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IOAI.com Wins University Of Bath Departmental & Faculty Placement Award

June 10, 2013 in Activism, Afterhours, Community Internship, Community Marketing, Intern Advice, Intern Guide, Intern Training, Personal, Politics, Prizes, Slideshow, University of Bath

BathU

Insight Of An Intern has been awarded both the departmental and faculty placement award by the University of Bath. 

I’m absolutely over the moon about this; not just because it’s a lovely accolade, but because it mean that this blog may help present and future interns in their experiences.

Thank you to everyone who continues to support IOAI.com.

From Intern to CTO – An interview with 10gen’s Eliot Horowitz

April 17, 2013 in 10gen, Coding, Community Internship, Guest Post, Intern Advice, Intern Guide, Intern Training, MongoDB, Networking, Pictures, Slideshow, Technology

It’s one of the many reasons I love the working culture at 10gen; where else would you find the CTO of the company happily sitting down to chat to the intern?

Eliot Horowitz, co-founder and CTO of 10gen, knows all too well the perks and pitfalls of intern life. Though now head of a 75-person engineering team, Eliot began his professional life when he was 19 years old, when he undertook a summer internship with DoubleClick, a company co-founded by Dwight Merriman, 10gen’s Chairman and fellow co-founder.

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Before he jetted back to New York, I had the chance to ask Eliot about his time as an intern, and to enquire about any advice he would offer prospective and current interns of today:

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The Lady is Not Returning: Margaret Thatcher (1925 – 2013)

April 8, 2013 in Activism, Afterhours, London Living, Personal, Pictures, Politics, Sexism, Slideshow

Margaret-Thatcher-Conserv-007

On April the 8th 2013, Margaret Thatcher’s spokesman Lord Bell announced that the former prime minister had died following a stroke. Reactions in both the public and private spheres ranged from the caterwauling lamentation of the death of ‘the greatest British peacetime prime minister‘ to shouts of joy and calls for a public holiday to celebrate, vowing never to sanitise her ‘corrosive legacy’.

With an anti-Thatcher rally marking my first venture into the world of politics (admittedly, I was in-utero at the time!) I’ve long had a fascination for the heated reactions our first, and so far only, female Prime Minister provoked – and continues to provoke to this day. In particular, the way in which Margaret Thatcher came to power as leader of the Conservative party at the height of the women’s movement, yet remained completely apart from feminist campaigns, passions and identity.

I should also probably admit that a small part of me died when I learned that, in 1997, Geri Halliwell (of girl-power band The Spice Girls fame) referred to Maggie as “the first Spice Girl, the pioneer of our ideology.”

So why exactly does ‘Iron Spice’ get such a hard press from the feminist movement?

True, in Margaret Thatcher we saw a woman who achieved something that no British woman had done before or since, and that no woman in the United States has ever achieved. Yet the truth is that being the first woman British Prime Minister does not automatically make you a feminist icon.

Indeed, Maggie herself was quick to distance herself from the sisterhood, remarking that:

 “I owe nothing to women’s lib. The feminists hate me, don’t they? And I don’t blame them. For I hate feminism. It is poison.”

For me, the mark of a ‘feminist icon’ is one who is equality-positive. She or he openly fights machismo and misogyny. Comparatively, on rape, domestic violence, childcare, benefits for single mothers, discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual inequality, Thatcher did nothing. On top of this, Maggie allowed a grand total of ONE woman to her cabinet, Baroness Young.

That said, I feel Margaret Thatcher is perhaps over-reviled in today’s Leftist press – she was no worse than many of the men before her, or since, or now. It disturbs me that she is singled out and ruined with special hatred, base insults and grotesque mockery while male public figures far more loathsome are treated more respectfully. It seems a major part of her political legacy has been used as an excuse to justify the misogynist backlash against female leadership.

In summary, today I lament the loss of someone who could have been an incredible advocate for the women’s movement, and the equality of women everywhere. Instead of reminiscing about a true heroine of our time, I am mourning the waste of a remarkable opportunity, and am left chewing over the bitter taste of a staunchly reactionary matriarch who cared little for equality of any sort and who had a contemptuous indifference to those who she should otherwise have been helping.

IOAI.com In Print – P-oint Magazine

March 28, 2013 in Intern Advice, Intern Guide, Intern Training, London Living, Networking, Personal, Pictures, Uncategorized

IOAI.com in P-oint Magazine

IOAI.com in P-oint Magazine

 

Insightofanintern.com has officially made it into ‘the real world’, having had an article printed in P-oint Magazine.

International Day of Happiness

March 20, 2013 in Afterhours, International Day of Happiness, London Living, Personal, Pictures, Politics

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I hope you’re smiling, because March the 20th is (the first) International Day of Happiness.

As far as ‘International Days’ go, today is a mere dribbling baby; established by the United Nations General Assembly on 28 June 2012, Assembly Resolution A/RES/66/281, which states:

The General Assembly, […] Conscious that the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal, […] Recognizing also the need for a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes sustainable development, poverty eradication, happiness and the well-being of all peoples, Decides to proclaim 20 March the International Day of Happiness, Invites all Member States, organizations of the United Nations system and other international and regional organizations, as well as civil society, including non-governmental organizations and individuals, to observe the International Day of Happiness in an appropriate manner, including through education and public awareness-raising activities […]

In keeping with the spirit of today, here’s a list of 25 things which ought to make you smile – or at least soften that grimace:

  1. The chances of you (as opposed to someone else) being born is about 1 in 40 million.
  2. On the day of his assassination, Martin Luther King Jr. had a pillow-fight in his motel room.
  3. If you say “my cocaine” you sound like Michael Caine saying his own name.
  4. Smiles really are contagious. Scientists in Sweden concluded that people had difficulty frowning when the looked at other subjects who were smiling.
  5. Every year, millions of trees grow thanks to squirrels forgetting where they buried their nuts.
  6. A pig’s orgasm lasts 30 minutes.
  7. Penguins only have one mate their entire life and “propose” by giving their mate a pebble.
  8. Otters hold hands when sleeping so they don’t drift away from each other.
  9. Wayne Allwine (the voice of Mickey Mouse) and Russi Taylor (the voice of Minnie Mouse) were married in real life.
  10.  For someone, somewhere in the world, today is the most amazing day of their life.
  11.  Sea horses mate for life, are completely faithful and travel together by holding on to each others tails.
  12. The kingdom of Bhutan use ‘gross national happiness’ as a key national indicator.
  13. A group of porcupines is called a prickle.
  14. Elephants are the only animals that cannot jump.
  15. We’ve all been here forever. Every bit of matter we see has been here since the beginning of time and it always will be.
  16. Further to number 12, watch THIS VIDEO
  17. Costa Rica is statistically the happiest nation on Earth.
  18. Worms communicate by snuggling.
  19.  2013 is the first year since 1987 that consists for four different digits.
  20. Stressed is ‘desserts’ spelled backwards.
  21. Charlie Chaplin once entered a competition and won third prize. The competition was a Charlie Chaplin look-alike contest.
  22. A duck’s quack doesn’t echo, and nobody knows why.
  23. A mere 20 minutes of exercise, three days each week will increase your happiness by 10 to 20 percent after six months.
  24.  Money does not buy happiness. After having your basic material needs met, additional money does not have any impact on your chemical levels of happiness.
  25. The most powerful way to increase your short-term feelings of happiness is to perform random acts of kindness to others, or to send a letter of gratitude to someone you care about. Five such acts in a week will increase your happiness for up to three months.

Know of any other interesting facts to make us smile? Please share them in the comments or drop me a message.

Welcome To Miami – 10gen All Company Meeting

March 8, 2013 in 10gen, Afterhours, Community Internship, Conferences, Intern Guide, Intern Training, MongoDB, Networking, Personal, Pictures

An Intern Goes Snorkelling

Just a over a  month ago I was catching my flight back to rainy London after a week in Miami. The 10gen All Company Meeting, and the mixture of work, sunshine, sea, sand and new friends afforded me one of the most enjoyable and eye opening experiences of my life. 

The concept behind an all-company meeting, especially for a growing company like 10gen which boasts an ever-increasing global presence, is to bring together all staff in one place for an opportunity to share new initiatives, company victories, upcoming challenges,  highlight employee accomplishments which reinforce the company’s values and culture and, vitally, unite the team around a common sense of purpose.

As an intern, the meeting allowed me to understand my placement company in more depth and to finally put faces to the names of those I interact with on a daily basis via email. It was great to be able to talk at length with members of the team in different departments, and to find out exactly what their jobs entailed – I was overawed by the enthusiasm and dedication I witnessed from all areas of the company. It forced me to think long and hard about where I’d like to be in 5 years time, and how I could use my degree in Politics and International Relations from the University of Bath to forge a career path about which I would feel just as passionate and empowered by my work as those I met in Miami.

Of course, there was a huge amount of silly fun to be had too. The annual team building challenge did not disappoint, as we were tasked with building Lego sumo robots. Really.

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I was in a great team (though rather light on the engineers) whose robot, named LegoLass, came in at a nifty second place. Our robot’s special move won it particular support from the crowd, and earned it the nickname ‘Humper the HR Violation’ – I’ll leave that to your imaginations.

There’s not much more I can write without potentially violating company privacy policies, so I’ll leave you with some photos from my time in Miami.

10th Article on The Huffington Post

March 6, 2013 in Huffington Post, Uncategorized

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The publishing of IOAI.com’s ‘A Job of Many Hats – Interning for a Startup‘ article on The Huffington Post means we’re now into double figures – thanks to everyone who continues to read my ramblings, and to send questions, requests and comments.

A Job of Many Hats – Interning for a Startup

February 13, 2013 in 10gen, Afterhours, Community Internship, Community Marketing, Intern Advice, Intern Guide, Intern Training, Introduction, London Living, MongoDB, Networking, Slideshow, Social Media, Technology

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Deciding to pursue a position within a start-up can be a nerve-wracking choice. Before you accept an offer, examine the positives and negatives of startup employment. With these issues in mind, you can make a sound decision – oh, and be ready to spend a lot of your time explaining to relatives/friends/strangers just who exactly your company is, and what you do. Repeatedly.

No Job Description

Fond of having a structured role with set tasks and responsibilities? Then working for a start up probably isn’t for you.

If, like me, you are walking into an entirely new role, then chances are you will have the opportunity to carve your own position and influence the direction of your internship – you really do receive a great deal of autonomy. Great for those who flourish in a more haphazard environment, but not so good for those who look to organisation and structure to guide their working day.

Learn By Doing

Unlike larger companies, where  you may have to endure hours of official training, in the start-up world it’s ‘sink or swim’. I absolutely love that from the moment you walk in through the doors, you’re treated like an integral member of the team and are expected to roll your sleeves up and get your hands dirty.

In a start-up, everyone must pull their weight for the company to succeed, and as an intern you will be no exception to this rule.

low-pay-packetLow or No Salary

Young companies are generally unable to offer the same kind of financial package that a large company can, and you’ll tend to work harder and get paid less while at a startup compared to your comparable role within a larger company. Of course, this isn’t always the case – many start ups offer a competitive internship wage, and many larger companies neglect to pay their interns at all.

Many Hats

It seems the ominous phrase “other duties as required” becomes the norm, and you may find yourself performing duties that are not even close to your expected responsibilities  - for example, I have just taken over the role of Office Manager after coming onboard as a Community & Marketing intern. It’s all hands on deck, and thus startups offer fantastic opportunities to wear multiple hats and really get to know what it’s like to run an organization.

Passionate People

There is a certain energy and determination present in the start-up environment unlike anywhere else I’ve worked. Startups are almost invariably made up of passionate, excited people who are working there because they truly want to be working there, and it’s something special to be a part of that.

Flexible Schedule

Regular office hours? What’re they? “Nine to five” is a fiction at most startups. This is really a ‘glass half full/empty’ situation, because although you may find yourself still sat in the office at 10pm, you are equally as likely to enjoy the prospect of a lie-in on days when you just need that bit extra. Holiday also works on a far less formal, more flexible basis.

Working for a start up also means you’ll probably have the opportunity to attend a plethora of events – there’s not many people to go around, so even as an intern you will be counted as a crucial part of the team.

Out Of Business Riskclosed-out-of-business

Time for a reality check; an overwhelming number of start-ups will not survive past the first year. Obviously this is a substantial risk, but one which can pay off far beyond what you might expect, but can also leave you updating your CV and trawling the internet for vacancies within a breathtakingly short time.

Wealth Of Experience but Less Specialisation

Though you may not be pulling in the big bucks yet, working at a start up is valuable in another way; your hands-on, multi-functional experience will be a real asset for your long-term professional growth.

However, one thing I’ve certainly found is that you may experience some frustration when it comes to honing specific skills – when you’re doing a billion and one different things, it’s difficult to become the marketing/sales/engineering/consulting/etc guru you expected.

Friends, not Colleagues

The nature of a startup means you will continually be meeting new people and building relationships – and you’ll grow to see many of your colleagues as friends.

Feeling Valued

It can be frustrating being a little fish in a big pond, and start up culture, generally, removes many of the hierarchical barriers experienced in larger companies. For example, when the CEO of 10gen came over from California, he ensured that he and I had an in-depth one-to-one; probably a very unlikely situation in larger companies.

I also have the chance to travel a lot more than I might otherwise – during my internship so far I have been lucky enough to take business trips to places such as Aarhus and even Miami. Being  part of a smaller team means playing a bigger role.

Little Perks 

The dedication seen at startups comes hand in hand with the need to curate an enjoyable environment, and an attempt to cultivate a healthy company culture (read more about that here). It’s the little things that make life worthwhile, and in 10gen those include jeans, popcorn, beer, and office juggling competitions.

Personal Pride

The exhilaration of being part of a successful startup produces pride and a sense of accomplishment that is extraordinary. You will never regret the long hours, hard work and smaller paycheque.

IOAI.com – Now A Featured Blog

February 12, 2013 in Afterhours, Community Marketing, Introduction, Networking, Personal, Slideshow, Social Media, Social Media Marketing, Technology

Shareaholic-Channel-badge

I am happy to announce that InsightOfAnIntern.com has been selected as a Featured Publisher by Shareaholic –  the leader in making content discovery & sharing on the web. Look out for IOAI.com appearing in their Careers Channel as of tomorrow!