Bode in the Bend
By Aaron Bode ’17
Sorry to disappoint, but this picture has almost nothing to
do with this blog post, other than the fact that “bode” means
“goat” in Portuguese and I needed an image for the blog.
But hey. Baby goats are pretty cute.
I have a confession to make.
Since I started this internship in late May, I’ve spent hours writing about JIFFI, hours explaining JIFFI to family and friends, and hours trying to articulate JIFFI’s message in any one of our numerous media platforms. I love talking about JIFFI stuff…
But occasionally… I want to talk about me.
A caveat: this blog post is still going to be about JIFFI. I know, making a big change, huh? However, I figure there are at least a few people out there curious as to what I’m doing on a daily basis. So, here goes.
I wake up in the morning feeling like P-Diddy. Wait, no, that’s not right. Generally I get up at 8, hit the snooze button a couple times, and get started on work at 9. One of the unique things about this internship is I get to decide when I’m doing what — since I have responsibilities for both SJC Bridges and JIFFI, and because much of my work for each organization is done online, I have ultimate flexibility when it comes to choosing where and when I’ll be completing work. Thank goodness I have a year of college under my belt (i.e. supreme time management practice).
When I’m busy meeting with clients, I usually find myself in the JIFFI office early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Because all of our clients are working or engaged with activities in the community, these times seem to work best. Clients also seem to appreciate when I go to meet them if there is an issue with making it to the South Bend Heritage Foundation (where our office is located). I’ve already made trips to a local library, two separate Goodwills, and Bridges to pick up repayments or meet with a client. When I’m not as inundated with calls and meetings, occasionally I’ll do work from my apartment or on Notre Dame’s campus. Changing my location seems to help especially when it comes to longer-term work that doesn’t have an immediate end date.
Now it’s time for a brief segment I call ‘Aaron’s Analytics!’ *catchy jingle plays*
Even something as simple as examining my schedule demonstrates various “nuggets of information” to consider for our organization as a whole. For example, if we know clients want to meet early and/or late in the work day, we know what times JIFFI associates may want to schedule classes or activities (when they have discretion, of course). Additionally, my empirical evidence suggests the importance of client comfort when it comes to the loan process. Reaching out to clients and making room for them, rather than adding another variable to their complex schedules, seems to make a huge difference in the way client interactions proceed. As for my own preference for varying my work spots, I think it verifies the value of examining how we approach the physical workplace. Check out these Forbes articles (and others) if you’re curious about how business is changing the “workspace.”
*jingle plays again* [Aaron partially switches out of nerdy personality]
The time I spend at the Bridges office generally depends on when my “mentors” are present. Currently, I’m working with Amber Werner on preparing her incredible Financial Management Class material for this fall’s session. I try to match my schedule at Bridges so we can communicate and work on the project’s vision together, and then we can both complete our individual “assignments” when we’re away/ working independently. (P.S. I’m hoping to write a future blog post about my experience specific to Bridges, but I want to have a little more material to show before I actually publish the post.)
Despite the fact that I’m my own timekeeper, my JIFFI work is really 9-5 every day. Yet, I try not to approach my internship as those “stale business hours” might suggest; rather, I hope that within the scope of the business day, I can be dynamic and efficient in all that I’m trying to achieve. And at the very least, know that I’m taking care of business.
Keep an eye out for a (fairly lengthy) upcoming blog I’ve written for Lend for America — they should be posting it soon!