Achieving Billability

by Alex Khalil

I was told during the interview process here at Sundog the work would almost always consist of internal projects. It took some time for me to come to terms with this as I was initially hoping I would be given client-facing work. I understood though, I had to earn client work, it was not something that would be instantly given to me. So at our annual company meeting when we were challenged to come up with our 15.5’s, meaning what were we going to do each and every day to get us to our goals. Because I want to gain more responsibility in the company, I set a goal to be trusted with billable tasks.

I worked on internal projects for a month or two, and eventually, a small individual project came along from a client. A mentor thought I could handle it as it was a relatively small project, but one that was original nonetheless. Finally, client work, and work that nobody here had ever faced before, I was very excited. I was also very nervous because with client work comes deadlines. After a little bit of unnecessary stress, and a little fine tuning with the client, the project was completed. I was so proud of my small project and the fact that I was now a billable employee.

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As I went back to my internal work, I thought I was alright remaining internal from here on out. I had gotten a taste of billable work and was happy. Less than two weeks later, I was notified there was new billable work for me to start, this time much simpler but I was glad to have it. What followed was a string of small individual client projects that never took more than a day or two. I was alright with this but felt a little limited.

Eventually, I got into working with a client, and other Sundoggers (my first time working alongside other people on client tasks) that lasted more than a day or two. I joined the project early in a sprint, and worked on it through the next one, for a total of about three weeks. The work was a mix between the software engineering team and the insights team, and I loved it. I enjoyed the cross between the two departments and working on a team with different skill sets. It was much more rewarding when this project came to an end because I had done significantly more work, learned a lot, and was coached by a mentor. I had finally found the type of client work I was looking for.

I realized about a week into this project that this is exactly what I was hoping to get out of my internship at Sundog. The collaborative work across departments that affected people outside of Sundog made me feel better about the work I was doing. I was more excited than ever to come into work and learn something new every day. It is opportunities like this that make the Sundog internship so great.