This summer, I was lucky enough to obtain an internship at the best intellectual property law firm in China. On the first day, I arrived 40 min early to prepare myself for an exciting new role filled with weighty responsibilities and a great deal of pressure. I was then directed to the partner’s office under the promotional department, where I fruitlessly spent an entire day trying to figure out what to do.
My direct boss was Ms. Jiang, who was friendly but frustrating in not assigning me any task other than reading the firm’s previous newsletters. This situation went on for three days, and the idleness was upsetting. After quickly coming to terms with my shipwreck of a situation, I rowed my inner battleship across unyielding waves of resistance preventing me from getting what I really wanted: work.
Pressure and I are directly correlated: it comes, I thrive; it goes, I wane. If the environment does not generate the pressure I need to thrive, I create it myself. On the other hand, three days of reading newsletters did not die in vain; it became the springboard to my first opportunity.
Ms. Jiang was on the phone with a certain somebody from the patent department. The “somebody” wanted to write an article and publish it in the newsletters. However, he did not want to draft it in the required dual language and was pleading with a reluctant and busy Ms. Jiang for help.
In full eagerness, I shouted, “I can do it!”
Throwing me a doubtful look, Ms. Jiang sneered, “Can you?”
I wanted to say, “Duh,why else would I be here?” Instead, I said, “TRY ME.”
Seeing no better options, she gave me the work. Hallelujah!
And so, the work was done to her satisfaction, and she started giving me more newsletter-related work, but it was not enough.
There was another group of people under the international marketing department in my office. The marketing head, Ms. Zhai, was a hot mess as she needed to organize a series of events to tag along the annual INTA (International Trademark Association) conference in Barcelona next year. She got nothing done due to a lack of resources and understanding of local culture. Volunteering to help with permission from my boss, I poured out 120% of the social media network at my disposal, jumping from person to person to person before finally pulling out a Barcelona local who connected me with several pursuable venues. After a ton of back and forth, I settled things down at last. That was fun!
Casual conversation turned into my next opportunity. The whole office was debating who to send as mediator to a meeting between a French lawyer and a Hongkongese lawyer regarding a new Chinese bill. It was a dilemma that even the highest leaders struggled to solve. The French lawyer spoke French, the Hongkongese lawyer spoke English, and the issue at stake was in Chinese. Confident of my trilingualism, I volunteered again—successfully. I scoured across multiple dictionaries sorting out professional IP jargons and official government terms until my hard work finally paid off, and the meeting went smoothly.
By far, I have proven myself to be a useful intern and earned the stable income of work I deserved. My boss would later tell me that my active presence was like a vitamin C pill dispersed into a glassful of still water touching every corner of its reach to activate the untapped potential in each cubicle. This experience reminded me of the Rio Olympic theme song: “I will not negotiate, I’ll fight it, I’ll fight it,” for before you know, you did it.