Written by: Catalina Lizarralde
I don’t know how many of you are familiar with plastics, but I bet that no normal 21 year old has any idea of how big and complicated the business is in general.
You see, the thing with The Dow Chemical Company is that it is big, I mean like Texas big! I am part of the North American Base Plastics business (one of their four worldwide regions). Within Base Plastics, I am part of the Polyethylene team which is divided into different value centers depending on how the plastic pellets are made (for my internship projects, I get to work with all of them). Lost already?..
How about if you add: the company and plant abbreviations, the chemical formulas, the code products, and the special tools and software you must learn to understand the business process… Trust me, I was really lost. I still am, but just a little bit!
My first day started with a 2 minute drive to work (yes, I would walk if the asphalt wasn’t melting) and my arrival to one of the nicest buildings of the business energy corridor (picture). This new business area is located on the north-west side Houston, and is surrounded by many nice apartment complexes really close to the corporate offices.
Once I parked, I went to get my badge, but since I am an international employee, the process was a little bit more complicated. So, after an hour of document background checks, multiple phone calls and a hundred signatures I was given my pass. Internationals employees have very controlled office access hours… I guess I just can’t work extra hours.. ha-ha!!
Meeting my hiring manager and my two supervisors was exciting. I had exchanged some emails and phone calls before, which made the process a lot easier. France, my manager, was in a meeting that day; so Boe and Cristin showed me around, introduced me to people, trained me with the basic first day information stuff and guided me in how to use the office technologies (like connecting my laptop to multiple screens). Once I had a couple of minutes to settle into my office (complete with an official nameplate), I opened my email and had multiple messages from the people around me welcoming me and offering their help in the future. Moreover, my office already had everything I would possible need… they had really planned for my arrival, and I felt really motivated about that.
From my perspective, the first days are about meeting and greeting people. They are all about developing company culture awareness and absorbing everything you can around you… learning learning learning! I did not have the list of my projects until Thursday because those first days are there to help me understand the business, the tools, and the dynamics of the people I would work with. By doing that, I think I better understand their expectations and their business.
That was my first day, just a very pleasant taste of what this summer is going to be…I really love it so far!
Now that I finally have internet access in my apartment (second picture), I can’t wait to write about some of the fun stuff I have done in Houston, but for now, I have to keep this one short. So, till next time ya’ll have a good summer!