This summer I have learned a thing or two about proper etiquette in the office. Ever since the last week in May, I have been interning as the Events/Logistics Intern for the American Diabetes Association. Even though it has only been a few weeks, I can confidently say I have been thrown right into the business and how it works. Over these weeks, my main focus has been on our biggest event of the summer, The Father of the Year Awards, which just happened this past Thursday. So, here’s a little bit of what I’ve learned about internships:
1. Always be on time and be professional. You may be technically a kid, but you don’t want to appear as one. It’s one of those things that is mostly expected of you, but the more professional you are, the more respect you earn. Trust me, people do pay attention to the details.
2. Do your work, and find more work to be done. The first part may seem like a given; however, the second might be interpreted differently. Sometimes as an intern you find yourself unoccupied, bored, and with nothing to do. This may be because your bosses are busy and haven’t had the chance to assign you anything or they simply just don’t have anything for you at the moment, or this could be because you are crazy efficient and already finished everything. Either way, it says a lot about you if you are the one who goes looking for things to cross off their list of to-do’s, and even helping out a fellow boss. Also, it beats sitting at your desk all day bored out of your mind so do them and yourself a favor.
3. Be an idea maker. Being an intern doesn’t mean anything; it doesn’t limit you or hold you back unless you let the title define you. I remember on my first day, I was pulled into a meeting about the logistics of our upcoming event, and when there was a pause in the conversation I went ahead and took my shot. And you know what… they loved it. They loved that I wasn’t afraid to speak up and share my opinions and ideas, to collaborate with them, and to show my confidence. It may be intimidating at first, but in the end, it’s better to show everyone who you are and what you’re capable of, than to merely sit on the sidelines, listen closely, and let someone pass you up.
4. Do your absolute best. Whether your internship is for credit, for experience, or because your parents are making you, it is still your internship and your opportunity to get as much out of it as you possibly can. This is your time to grow, to learn, and to listen. You may think you know it all, but there is definitely something that the experience of an internship can teach you that school just can’t. Take advantage of the time you are spending with the company, and make the most of it. Go above and beyond everyday, and go home knowing that you did something that matters today. That you did something you’re proud of.
1. Don’t bend the rule book. When you start your internship, you can guarantee there will be some sort of rules/procedures in place. They are set for a reason, even if you don’t understand what that reason is, they are there and you need to follow them. For instance, why I need to consult people on my printing or why there’s a lock and key for the public restroom I don’t know, but sometimes it’s better to just do and not ask.
2. Don’t excessively use your phone at the office. And I say excessively lightly because if I said at all I would be a hypocrite. I check my phone for the time, and if anyone texted me and I sometimes answer. But, that’s different than snap chatting all day, playing games on your phone, posting on social media, texting everyone in your contacts, and making personal calls. Just know the difference: your bosses and people in the office should never have to walk by and see you always on your phone (what does that say about you?!??).
So I guess for me there are more Do’s than Don’ts, which I guess is a good thing. Anyhow, I really believe that these are lessons and tips I live by, and have made my experience at the association as amazing as it is. Somewhere along the way, you just have to decide for yourself what kind of intern you want to be, not only for yourself but also the kind that everyone sees you as. Today, Tom, one of the big guy’s in the office, said to me “I heard great things about you”. Like this is my exact point in a nut shell: if you do what you’re suppose to and give a little more, if you are professional and respectful, if you are confident and willing to put in the work, than people will notice your efforts. In the end, it comes down to you and you alone. Make the most of your time, and surprise people while you’re at it.
Be the best intern and person you can possibly be, and know one can ask for more.