My colleagues, like Laura Jiménez and Alberto Serrano, who already shared their work impressions, were the ones who not only motivated, but also inspired me to tell my story. But, before I speak more about my working experiences and impressions, I would like to share some background information.
How Everything Began
My name is Ellen Auer (29), currently living in the beauty of Andalusia, called Granada. I have my origins in Russia, but lived the majority of my life (around 20 years) in Germany, four of those in my favorite city Berlin. This is also the place I got to know Jerónimo, where we worked together in a start-up enterprise. We maintained the contact, a few years later I moved to Granada to start my Masters degree in Economics, and he offered me to work with him.
My Expectations and Thoughts
I had several expectations and thoughts before starting my internship in February 2018. I was very curious, but at the same time I knew it would challenge myself, which I highly welcomed. Besides the knowledge about the courses we are offering in Scrum, Lean Kanban and Management 3.0 I wanted to gain, I expected to be confronted with other challenges, such as language barriers.
My level of Spanish was, and unfortunately still is, low in order to communicate properly. Despite the fact that everyone is a native speaker, they adapted to my situation and tried to talk mainly in English, when I was involved. Though that gave me the feeling of being welcomed and integrated, I know that I definitely need to focus more on improving this and need to adapt to the others.
The working environment is characterized by flexibility and freedom where everyone needs to be self-accountable and self-organized. I was used to opposite working conditions, and hence, worried if I could adapt my work style to the situation.
And What I Experienced
After a few months, I can say that I really appreciate to have the opportunity to experience this. I realized that this working atmosphere suits me well and I can adapt my work into my busy and sometimes unpredictable schedule of job, study and spare-time. That, and also the fact that we are spread all over Spain, goes along with the challenge to coordinate and collaborate with each other. From my point of view, we have a good way to balance this, e.g. by weekly review video calls or by regular offsite-meetings where we take advantage of the opportunity to work, decide and grow together.
What I also highly recognize is the vision of equality. We intentionally collaborate in the form of a circle, which implies that everyone’s opinion has the same value. That is especially important for someone like me, who is an intern. In general, I noticed that everyone tries to give his or her best and is always there to help. The challenge here is to find your own place within the team and show the other team members that you bring value.
How I Found My Place
From my point of view, I found my place and work that I enjoy. It came up spontaneously, when I was trying to get an overview of all the concepts and contents we are working with. One of the first ones was Sociocracy 3.0 which was intended to be implemented in our company, but not haven’t been started by that time.
Based on my professional background in finance and management, I noticed in the past that I had a personal dissonance with the perceived conservative and classic hierarchical structures of companies and my vision of an efficient organizational structure. Thus, I always saw opportunities to improve this issue. Sociocracy leveraged my tendency and I knew that it is the task I wanted to work on. I decided to do deeper research on that topic and to present and implement it in our company, with the agreement of the other team members.
I received positive feedback and even the extension of my internship proofed, that this is the right path I am going here. So far, I already did the first steps to implement Sociocracy and still continuously thinking of how to bring more structure but at the same time freedom in our organization, so that we can embrace our work flow. I hope and looking forward to have the opportunity to do so in the future, as well.