Co-op Term 1: First Impressions

This year, I began my first co-op work term as a Junior System Administrator.  My workplace is very close to my university, and as such, my commute is not bad.

As of today, I finished my second week on the job.  I feel very fortunate to be working with very kind, intelligent, and helpful people, providing me guidance where I needed it.

As a Junior System Administrator, I currently help the company keep track of where location of assets are, and respond to support calls from various locations across the country.  I learned how to create shipping labels for items such as printers, barcode scanners, USB cables, and AC adapters.  These items need to be shipped ASAP to minimize the disruption of service for the company.  When these items are shipped out, I receive the faulty equipment back usually within the next few days, where I process them in our database, and send them off to their respective locations, whether that be for disposal, for repair if I can’t fix it, or for storage if I manage to fix them.

On the topic of disposal, there are many things that I have learned in regards to that.  First, when things are marked for disposal, it means that you can essentially play with them during your spare time.  In one case, I received an old receipt printer that was sent back because it was “dysfunctional”.  Because it was also an obsolete model, it was being decommissioned and “disposed” of, so I ended up trying it out.  I managed to get it working, and with rolls of extra receipt paper lying around, I got it up and running, making it my little “label” printer for things I have to ship out during the day.  It was pretty cool.

Aside from shipping and receiving, I am also learning how to effectively communicate with others via phone and email.  For example, in one case, my supervisor asked me to verify the location of a few assets.  In order to do so, I had to either email or phone each location to ask and verify.  At first, I emailed each individual store, receiving prompt responses from about half of them within a day.  For those that I received no response for, I sent another email at roughly the same time the following day, of which I received a response for around half of those as well.  On the third day, I switched to phone calls for the remainder, and received the final confirmation.  Through this experience, I learned that email is very good during times when you need to request something without a need for an immediate response, such as when you have other things to do like preparing shipments for the current day.  When you need an urgent response, a phone call is the way to go.

One thing I noticed about myself during this process was that when I first started the task, everything felt really daunting.  Perhaps it was the fact that I was communicating with people I didn’t know, or the fact that I have never done such a thing before.  Regardless, once I actually “began”, things started to feel a little better.  I feel like that’s how everything goes, though, and for me, it’s all a learning experience.

 

Anyways, now that this second week is complete, I feel like I’ve gotten used to this workflow for shipping and receiving.  That first and second day on the job, I was very careful in getting everything down, so I was slow, but paid close attention to everything shown to me, and as these past few days went by, I’ve gotten more efficient at processing things.  I got my own excel worksheets to keep me on track, and to constantly help remind me of what things I’ve done, and what things I still need to do before I leave at the end of the day.

To wrap things up, these past two weeks have been a learning experience.  Getting to know your coworkers, being creative with the things you have, getting used to the workflow, and, most importantly, enjoying the experience and having fun is definitely awesome!  These past two weeks have been lots of fun learning, and I’m looking forward to learning some more.

 

Until next time, take care!

~Lui

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