Here's Why You're Not Making A Great First Impression At Your Internship
An internship is the best teacher. They are the most valuable experiences one will ever have in college.
But being an intern isn't all fun and games. In fact, the fun and the games are very limited.
Interning is all about extracting as much as you can from each experience and applying it to the “real world.” It's about being humble enough to accept the fact that you're the lowest on the totem pole, but also being confident enough to believe you can climb it.
Here are some things to keep in mind while you're second-guessing and anticipating every little thing you do this summer:
1. “They're going to fire me on day one of my internship.”
When you get your first real, big-time internship, it's easy to think the people who hired you are going to just change their minds.
How could they want to hire you? Don't they know how important they are?
Well, guess what? You're important too, and you'd better damn well start acting like it. Execs can smell lack of confidence from 25 offices away.
Fake it 'til you make it if you have to. But you need to be on your own team if you ever want to impress the higher-ups.
2. “OMFG. I can't adult.”
Working from 9 to 5 is an adjustment for anyone. Sometimes, it's hard to watch your friends get hammered on a Tuesday night while you're falling asleep by 10:30 pm.
But have faith in the path you're paving for yourself. Only good can come from being ripped from your comfort zone and being thrown into the unforgiving and cold corporate world. Besides, you'll learn to work through that hangover in a couple of years.
3. “'Yes' is always the answer."
Wrong, wrong, wrong. Be as transparent as possible.
If you have a question, ask. If you don't know how to do something or where to find something, speak up.
Your superiors will appreciate it. No one likes a know-it-all, and no one likes to babysit someone through tasks. You're there to make their lives easier, but you can't do that if you have no idea what the f*ck is going on.
So, don't be afraid to ask. Clarity is key. You're looking to be trainable, not omniscient.
4. "Am I kissing enough ass?"
The answer is probably "yes." While a little flattery can go a long way, no one wants to work with someone who offers to get one's coffee and drink it too. Take it easy and be patient.
Your work ethic and unwavering determination will reveal itself in due time, as will your likable personality traits. Don't stick your nose into private conversations without an invitational indication of some kind.
Don't offer to pay for lunch. Don't dust an exec's desk. Just do your best and let your natural charm radiate as it will.
5. “This task is beneath me.”
This way of thinking will keep you stagnant in the workforce. No task that is given to you is beneath you.
You're not better than anything you are asked to help with. Sure, you might be capable of more, but that goes back to being patient.
You'll get your chance to shine. But that doesn't mean you don't have to truck through the mud a little bit before you get there. It's called "paying your dues," and everyone has to do it eventually.
So, don't even think about bitching when you have to spend four hours binding presentations. In fact, offer to do it for five hours. There is a greater purpose to every task you're given.
Sometimes, tasks are given just to see how you react. No one cares if you were class president or if you were on the dean's list: You're there to make your boss's day-to-day life as seamless as possible.
Be diligent and positive. Keep your nose out of the air.