Learning to work with your Clone

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What if I told you that cloning is no longer a distant goal of the future? Gone are the days when the only things that could be cloned were plants and sheep. I came to the realization recently that this technology had advanced a long way, under the radar.

What spurred this realization? The shocking finding that I, myself, had a clone.

It was orientation day for the new wave of FlashStarts summer interns. Just like any other summer program, we started off the day with an icebreaker. The task was simply to introduce yourself, making sure to include your name, school, and major.

As one of the first people to go, I quickly rehearsed my spiel in my head a few times before it was my turn. “Hi everyone! My name is Alex. I am from Cornell University and I am majoring in Economics.”

So far I had been the only Cornell or economics student. I was feeling relatively unique until exactly three introductions later, when I heard a voice that ended my daydream: “Hi guys, my name is Alex…” (Wow that’s just fantastic. TWO Alex’s in the office)“…I’m from Cornell University…” (Is this girl just copying my intro?) “…and I’m majoring in Economics.” (Are you freaking kidding me!?).

I turned around to see my copycat, who shared my brown eyes, dark hair, and tan complexion. The only difference between the two of us was that she was…well, a “she”. From that moment on, I knew it was going to be a cage match. A battle of the Alex’s. Clone Wars round two. And even though she looked around with trust and excitement, I knew that she understood as well as I did that this was going to be a fight to the death.

Having another “you” in the office can have its ups and downs. For example, there were frequent assignment mix-ups where one Alex was assigned projects meant for the other Alex and vice versa, creating confusion and adding to the overall workload. Having two Alex’s in the office also meant that everyone had to pick their favorite Alex…I’m not going to go into how that turned out for me. There were definitely some hurdles to overcome there.

While having another Alex, Econ major from Cornell in the office could be an unpleasant time, there were a few redeeming factors that actually made me think this odd situation has had a net positive result. First off, having a “clone” in the office meant there was somebody there that I automatically knew I could get along with. Making a quick connection on the first day ended up being crucial for developing confidence and building a network. It was a talking point that helped me start conversations with other interns, as well as the other people in the Startmart space. Second, having a direct comparison in the office pushed me to work harder and involve myself in the workplace more than I would have without the sense of competition.

No matter who you are, whenever you start a new job or internship, you will have a “clone” in the workplace: somebody who you are similar to or that you can easily compare yourself to. While a situation like this can have its ups and downs, it is important to focus on the positives and make the most out of your new you! I know I did.

Alex Cha is an Economics Major at Cornell University. He currently works at a Generalist Intern at Flashstarts. He beatboxes for his a cappella group.