First day obstacles: What I learned in the copy room

By Alexandra Lee

Office of the Chair | 2015 Summer Student

Reflecting back on my first day at Deloitte, I am somewhat embarrassed to admit that I encountered my first major obstacle in the photo copy room. Leave it to me to turn a simple black and white print job into a colossal printer failure. As the printer began to beep and flash red lights, I frantically opened the various drawers to determine what was wrong. All the while, I hoped that no one would wander into the copy room and witness my massive scramble. As it turned out, the printer just needed more paper in Tray 2.

Never in a million years did I think that my first real challenge at work would be something so elementary as printing a document. While it all seems insignificant now, at the time I was really disappointed in my abilities to look like a savvy professional. I had envisioned myself tackling my first week at the office with confidence and ease, and I had already hit a small learning curve within those first few hours. Luckily, I can now confidently say that I am a printing expert and no longer panic when those red lights begin to flash.

I have come to view this experience as an important analogy for life as a summer student. At Deloitte, I have found that I am constantly learning on the fly. Similar to the printer in the copy room, I am always engaged in projects, tasks, and challenges that I have never tackled before. Whether my task is to coordinate a Retired Partners event, organize the joint Board and Executive meeting or correspond with Deloitte practitioners across the country, there are times when I do not readily have all the answers stored neatly in my head. However, instead of feeling anxious about what I do not know, I am asked to try new things, experiment, and build different competencies to add to my skill set. I am encouraged to put my best foot forward, ask for help, and value the learning process as an end in itself.

I believe this is an important mentality to have as a summer student and as a young professional. Similar to what I learned in the copy room, there will be instances where you must try something for the first time without the safety of having the right plan of action on hand. As you might not have the answers entirely figured out, you will need to adapt to the learning curve and acquire new skills and abilities along the way. I believe what is important is your attitude; instead of being frustrated or anxious about what you do not know, treat your time as a summer student as a chance to build confidence, competency, and your robust skill set. Accept that you may not get everything right the first time around and let that motivate you to perform and master your next task.

Alexandra joined Deloitte as summer student role in 2015 in the Office of the Chair. She is currently completing her Honors, Business Administration at Richard Ivey School of Business.

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