When I moved back to Louisiana, I quickly recruited the life blood of any organization, interns! And over the years and through dozens of internships and interns, I’ve developed three rules that are key for any internship - or even job - to really work.
Before you ask, Google it - there are dumb questions. Those questions are the ones google has a ready answer for. If you must ask, tell me what you did or did not find. Don’t ask me the first day of fall, what time a business closes, or what the logo of a brand looks like. Go. Ask. Google. If Google doesn’t know, then ask a different way and THEN and only then come and ask me. I lived by this rule as an intern and saved myself and my employer LOTS of time. Being a good researcher is a necessity in the information age. So, practice until Google will reveal all its secrets to you!
Go beyond the task -this is key! If I tell an intern to make copies and they come back without stapling and collating them, they could blame me for not being specific. That kind of intern isn’t going to do well, in life! Think about the task, ask finishing questions, and then go beyond the task. Once, I was asked to create a memo for a client of my employer. I knew that the client was really wanting more than just analysis. They wanted to see the evidence for the analysis. So, I created a binder (super simple) and included in tabs all my research, with the analysis on the top in the form of a report. My employer was able to hand my work product over, without any changes to the client, who was thrilled. Was I smarter than the other people given the task? NO! I just went beyond and make my work more USEFUL! If you are getting coffee, get napkins too. If you are doing a presentation, think about the room. If you are keeping kids, do the dishes! Think of how you can add value BEYOND what you are asked to do.
Seek out and readily accept correction - and you will be a star! Don’t dodge blame. Don’t avoid responsibility. Don’t justify a miss. Ask for how your work can improve. Ask where the process could have been better. Ask where working with you is frustrating or less than ideal. And don’t take “you are awesome” for an answer. You CAN improve, but only with honest evaluation. And when correction comes to find you, don’t wilt. Say “thank you for pointing this out, I will improve!” Your boss might faint and I promise she will be more likely to give you this valuable input in the future!
What rules have you followed in your career?
Know someone who would benefit from these rules? Share! It’s always good to spread love and knowledge.
Need help? Reading can grow you in your career and in every area of life! Here are some tips on how to be a reader in every season.