Last Thursday I started my Internship @ Samsung Electronics, Suwon, Korea. The work starts at 8 am and we were asked by the HR to be there at that time for the orientation. As I am the biggest sleeper anyone could ever see in this mortal world, I was really really not happy about the timings. Adding to this herculean task of waking up early, the distance from my home to Samsung (about 1 Hr 15 minutes) added to the “torture”. Essentially.. I had to wake up around 5:30 am, go to the bus stop in SNU by 6:20, meet other interns from SNU, take a bus to the Nakseongdae Subway Station, then a subway to Sadang and from Exit 1 of Sadang Subway Station, take the samsung shuttle bus to Suwon. In the evening, start from samsung around 6 pm after dinner. Reach SNU around 7, go to gym and come to room around 9 and sleep around 10:30. This is my daily schedule these days.
Anyhoo, post forewords, let me get into the my first day @ Samsung. We reached Suwon at about 7 30 am and got down in front of the main gate. From there we walked to Building R-3 where we were supposed to meet Ms. Lee Woo Jin (an SNU Business Administration Graduate herself). We met her and got our ID cards and were allotted into separate divisions. Since my boss was busy in the morning, I was requested to go to the Samsung Library for passing time. Without a word of opposition (Why would i? 🙂 ..) i went to the library and whiled my time reading magazines. I remembered the time i spent in IIIT library, where i would go for supposedly studying, but in the end find me spending time either sleeping or reading misc. magazines. 🙂
After a not-so-great-but-not-so-bad-either indian lunch, I was guided to meet my labmates and my mentor. I met my mentor, greeted him and started talking about my background. I guess my lab contained about 100 – 200 people divided into various teams. After a while, my mentor asked his friend to introduce me to all the team members (about 40). Post, he took me to my table. I was given a seat next to another Indian (from Orissa). Contrary to the “myths”, inspite of me being in the Engineering Division, i was able to find a fair proportion of males and females. All my team mates were friendly and I guess i was the youngest in the whole lab of 100-200 people. Hence I was given the youngest-student treatment. While i was making myself adjusted to the environment, my mentor came with a wet cloth and started cleaning my table. I objected to that and requested him to give it to me and i started cleaning my table myself. You know, i suck at cleaning.. 🙂 Hence my mentor mocked me (with humor) and told “you dont know how to clean a desk.. give it to me.. I will do it.” and he took the wet towel and cleaned my desk.
The next thing i did was to go to my mentor’s table which is in the same room, just a few rows away. I saw that he had a very similar setting to what I or for that matter anyone else has. Similar chair and he was just another engineer among all of us (Atleast i thought so at first.)
Then came the lightning strike. I came to know that he was my boss. WOW! I was so surprised and flattered. Where i had expected a diabolical (metaphorically speaking) character, he was much much nicer. My boss, helped me clean my table. My boss sits among all the others, without a special cabin with all extra facilities (as i had seen in companies in India where we could know whose the boss by the air around him.. Please correct me if this is not the general case back home). I was really surprised at his humility. He was such a nice person and a wonderful individual. Never even once did he have the “i-am-the-boss” air around him and many times i saw him joking around with others. The division which i was working in is one of the most profitable divisions in the whole of Samsung Electronics. and now i know why! 🙂
After giving me some work, he asked me if i had time in the evening to join them for a group dinner (outside Samsung, in a restaurant) and around 5:30 pm, we went to the restaurant which was followed by a social drinking party. In the meanwhile, i was introduced to my boss’s boss as well. I must say.. I was flattered by his simplicity as well. Even him, the boss’s boss sat among all us “lesser-mortals” and did not seem to demand those “extra-luxuries” like an own cabin, flamboyant amenities etc. which he actually, in all rights, could have had under his grasp. He was among us and wanted to be treated like us. This way he gains true respect, even from me who was just one day old in my job. Truly remarkable. I am continuously impressed by one character in people around me here, thats Humility.
People always think, that in such companies, people work from 7 am to midnight. I wont say that it is completely false but from what i see, here the bosses lead from the front and they lead by example and not load by example. This really motivates us to work like him and the harmonious family-like environment is the delicious topping. He comes early and he goes late. Not kidding, I am really happy and lucky to be here!
And yeah .. none of the websites are blocked here. All websites and chat clients are accessible at all times. 🙂 They trust you and expect you to live up to their trust that you wont waste much time surfing. They don’t make you work by imposing restrictions on various aspects of your work-life, rather motivates you by leading you from the front. Am really looking forward to be a regular part of this team from September next year when I would be absorbed into Samsung Electronics Mainstream. I am sure that there are more companies like Google, Microsoft, Yahoo etc. who treats the employees similarly but i just wish how great it would have been, if ALL the companies followed suit. The productivity would then simply soar into the clouds exceeding predictable limits!