I am writing this blog (personal testimony) as a student of Sociology who works in an IT company. Let’s see how that (miracle) happened and what it is like to work as a student at Determ.
How did I come to Determ and what did my first working days look like?
I got a job in Determ’s Marketing team in my 2nd year of Sociology studies, after I came across an ad for a Content Creation Intern (which means I’ve been here for over three years… we’re getting old!). Before that, I did several student jobs, of which the one for a media company was a little more serious.
Determ’s ad seemed like a great opportunity to start a more serious career while I was still in college so I said why not give it a try and sign up. After sending my CV and cover letter, passing the knowledge test, and the final interview, I got a job.
When I came to Determ at the age of 20, I was the youngest person in the company. (I’m not anymore, Marac and Romina took my title). At first glance, I was struck by a great, modern office (table tennis, gym, large terrace, Playstation – a student’s paradise), shelves in the kitchen full of sweets, pets that sleep during meetings, and, most importantly, extremely friendly people in the team that help with whatever you need, but also with whom you start laughing at (not so great) jokes on your third working day.
At the same time as me, three more students came to the Marketing – Klara, Klara, and Iva (yes, yes, two Klara and three best colleagues ever). When we first arrived, we listened to internal education about Determ as a company (how and when it was created, why it was created, how it developed over the years, etc.), education about the Determ tool itself (what it is used for, how it is used, etc.), and education about the culture of the company and the work of other teams so that we know what other teams in Determ are doing.
As the first working days and weeks passed, we slowly got used to the work itself, without any too serious tasks. It was important for the company to first introduce us to our job, mentor and educate us, and then, over time, give us more and more independence in our work.
“Where’s the catch?”
I’ll be completely honest. At first, the thought in the back of my mind was “this seems too good to be true – where’s the catch?”.
I didn’t know that Croatian companies can be successful worldwide and focused on big goals, all while making a great working atmosphere for young, creative people. It was also unusual for me to see people satisfied with their work and employer.
This was unusual to me based on my previous working experiences, but also on all the stories about what it is like to work in Croatia. Suddenly, I end up in a company where not only are there no bad interpersonal relationships, mobbing, and other ugly topics of our everyday lives, but everyone tries to help each other, we play Playstation during breaks or drink coffee on the terrace. Plus, can I tell all my dumbest jokes to the boss without any hesitation? It was all unbelievable to the 20-year-old me.
In addition, I was amazed that I could talk openly about everything and that I was openly told about everything work-related. What? How? Are students really appreciated here?
We participate in all meetings, our opinions and ideas are respected, we go to team buildings, we hold presentations in the company, over time we are given more independence in our work, and we are encouraged to always put college obligations in 1st place, and to develop professionally according to our personal wishes? Wow. My constantly suspicious mind couldn’t believe it…
There’s no catch
Still, more than three years later, I didn’t find the catch. Contrary to my personal belief that nothing is as it seems – Determ dissuaded me in this case. There’s no catch. It’s possible to work as a student in a promising, people-first company and at the same time be equal to all employees, without any discrimination.
As I mentioned earlier, in addition to participating in all important meetings in which our opinion is sought and relevant, over time we are increasingly encouraged to be more and more independent in our work. This, of course, means a higher level of responsibility and seriousness about the job, but also the opportunity to shape our career the way we want to.
Besides, students at Determ have the same equipment as everyone else, the company constantly invests in our education, we go to teambuildings, we hold public lectures in which we represent Determ, and we own and lead projects, to name a few things.
I will not lie, sometimes the job of an Intern at Determ can be demanding. Still, it pays off when we know that we have the opportunity to start building a career in our early 20s and that one day, after graduating, we can expect a job in an already familiar environment and a promising company. This is another advantage of student work in Determ – student internship does not have a specific duration, as is usually the case in Croatia. Once you get to Determ, you have the opportunity to stay with us for as long as you want. 🙂
How to balance working and studying?
Now comes the key question – how do we balance going to college and having a serious job? What distinguishes us from full-time employees in the company is that we determine when and how many hours a day we’ll work.
So, for example, during the exam season, we can determine that we will work only a few hours a day or that for a week, or two (depending on how much we need to prepare for exams) we will not work at all.
It is only important to announce the absence from work to the team leader in advance so that the rest of the team can be coordinated while we are off, but no one ever makes the slightest problem about taking time off. Thus, the company, both theoretically and practically, always lets us know that our college obligations are most important.
To all the students who are reading this blog and are considering sending an application to Determ – prepare for an interesting internship that requires taking on a lot of ownership and responsibility, a laid-back, people-first culture, friendly, sometimes funny coworkers, and a great opportunity for further professional development.
If that suits you and you’ve found a position you’d like to apply for – come join us, there is no catch. 🙂