Corporate Management Trainee Program Week 7 2017

I know nothing about warehousing, which wouldn’t normally be a problem except that I now work in warehouse finance. The last six weeks of training focused on dynamic presentations from: competitive sales managers, quirky marketing experts and finance bros. Our cohort was given soaring departmental overviews and gritty deep-dives. We put lessons into action through case studies that ran the gamut from smoothie development to cost savings analysis. Our last case study presentation was supposedly a culmination of the skills we have gained through training, proving we were ready to join a team for our first rotation.

That was Friday.

Monday morning brought my first day of, “real” work and with it, the cold sting of reality: I’m back in square zero. My department is supply chain finance, my team; warehousing. I promptly joined the SC finance team for a meeting to recap the past week. The meeting clarified exactly how little I knew about warehouses and finance. The jargon was so impenetrable that my takeaways from the meeting were based more on a presenter’s tone than their actual data. I’ve spent the last few days drinking from a fire hydrant, to steal a turn of phrase. I’ve been combing through excel files and pestering my manager and desk neighbors with questions. Slowly I’ve begun to understand the terminology, helped along by the patient explanations of my teammates. Though uncomfortable at times, this week has held huge amounts of hands on learning.

The “cold sting of reality” has been replaced with a sense of excitement. The challenges are still very real, but my team has shown me how they approach problems. Where I was overwhelmed, I’m now comfortable not knowing. I expect to keep learning at a breakneck pace but I’m eager to apply those lessons. I can’t wait until the next weekly recap meeting to see if I can’t engage with the facts rather than inflections.

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