Expect the Unexpected

I had my first day of work completely planned out. I would wake up early, make myself breakfast, leave for the tube 45 minutes before work started, and arrive at the office 15 minutes early, as any intern trying to make a good first impression on the first day of work would do.

When I boarded the eastbound Central line at Holborn station dressed in my dark suit with a white shirt, everything had gone exactly as planned. But after a couple of idle minutes in a jam-packed tube, a voice crackled over the intercom: “The Central line is currently experiencing major delays. We are sorry for the inconvenience.” Immediately my first day of work plan had gone up in smoke.

I hustled out of the underground station and began power walking down High Holborn towards my office located in the finance district — 2.5 miles away. Because I had left unnecessarily early, I had 30 minutes to make it to the office in time. I also tried boarding a city bus, but the line was terminated halfway through the trip because of construction and traffic — another literal roadblock. Ultimately I arrived at the office exactly at 9 a.m. rattled but on time and ready to get to work.

The problems I faced getting to my first day of work taught me two things. Firstly, over-preparation is sometimes the best preparation. Had I not allotted myself so much time to get to work the first day, I wouldn’t have made it on time and made a bad impression with my co-workers. Secondly, expect the unexpected. I was not anticipating the tube to stop running that morning, so I had to adjust my plan on the fly and be resourceful to solve the problem. This small example is applicable to many circumstances, including work. Maybe you get assigned an unexpected task on deadline? Maybe you have to make a presentation by yourself because your partner is sick? Whatever the unexpected circumstances may be, it is important to make adjustments and roll with the punches. The small story of the commute to my first day of work taught me these big lessons that will be relevant in the next 6 weeks of my internship.

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