internship

Internship, New York—The First Month

Internships are like the awkward preteen years of your career. You’re underdeveloped (in skills), you’re new to the office, you’re not making any money. Nobody understands you.

I’m in the first two weeks of a new internship, and I’m struck, again, by how uncomfortable the whole situation is. I have three months—like a year condensed—then it’s all over.

For most, three months is what it takes to acclimate to a new job. It’s that magical time: anything is possible and coworkers are friendly; supervisors are forgivable and amiable. But when three months pass, the boss says, “Charlie, hurry up already with those projections, huh? Time is burning. And what’s with that tie?” For me, time has already burnt. There were expectations when I walked through the door. I am to make the most of my time, to launch, refine or develop new or current projects. No dilly dallying, procrastinating. No strolling in late with a latte.

But I’ve been here before. This is my third internship, hopefully my last, and I know the drill.

I need to be on the ball. I need to be completely aware of my surroundings. I need to impress and smile and network and work hard. Truth be told, I thrive in this environment. I love the high stakes nature of it all. I love finding an unmet niche in an overworked department and solving problems they didn’t know could be solved. Still, if my tone reads as exhausted, it’s because I am. I’m ready for something permanent, a place where my accomplishments can truly disrupt the system and change it for the better. I’m tired of joining a team, and leaving still. (more…)

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Job Interview Horror Stories: Reader Email

Last week I posted Job Interview Horror Stories: AT&T Ret(hell), a brief look at one of the most uncomfortable job interviews of my life.

In response, I received some fantastic reader email. People sharing stories, feedback, and ideas.

Here are a few of my favorites.

Andy in California shares an enlightening trick from the interviewer’s perspective:

Receptionist-Male

One time I moved my secretary to my desk and when the interviewee walked in I greeted him and told him to have a seat. He proceeded to ask me all about the joint, how the pay was, benefits and all that stuff you don’t ask. Then he mentioned that he’d tried sales once and really sucked and hated it but was desperate for a 3 month gig or so.

Then the phone rang and I answered it, “Andy, can I help you?” I’m not kidding, his skin tone changed like four different shades and ended in a ‘I’m gonna puke white’ look.

I stood up, shook his hand and opened the door and said, ‘Best of luck on your job hunt!’

Thanks, Andy! I’ve heard of scenarios like this, but I never knew anyone to actually try it. Kudos.

Here’s a hectic tale from Bethany in New York: 

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The Intern Whoop: Taking a Local Day Pt. 2

Last year, I discovered newness inside my town and wrote a blog detailing this adventure: Local businesses and new people; I got outside—it was great. Check out, “Taking a Local Day” HERE.

Part Duex

On the first of the year, my wife and I moved from snowy Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho to sunny San Luis Obispo, California. I grew up here in SLO county, well south county, I guess.

Despite my history here, everything seemed new; the mountains had never looked greener and skies had never been bluer. The local troves held new names and faces, while their sidewalks ferried fresh bodies to and fro.

We were in a land of newness and I was bound to explore it.

Then we got jobs. Well, I got an internship and she got a job.

Makin’ Copies

My internship so far has been ideal. There isn’t much grunt work, and I’m treated as an employee with as much to say as anyone else. Though yesterday, I made copies for five hours.

Five hours. I can still smell it. The copies.

In the middle of my copying madness, I was given a quick job to distribute a notice to all the local businesses in our strip regarding a meeting of some sort.

I welcomed the break.

Makin’ Discoveries

strip mall

outside

There were twelve of these notices to hand out. I peeked outside, “there’s twelve shops here?”

For over two months I’ve worked here. Besides the coffee shop, I had no idea who my neighbors were.

“There’s twelve shops?” I repeated.

So once again, I ventured out; I took a local day. Shaking hands, I discovered business owners, employees and their products.

One shop offered full car-audio installation, with a contract for city police vehicles (two were inside). Another shop sold used baby clothes, and right next to it, golf gear. Further down, I met some kids working in a skateboarding warehouse who specialized in online sales; further down, there was a Muay Thai kick boxing ring.

Like us, they were all just trying to make their mark and tell their story. Before yesterday, they didn’t exist. At least not to me.

Reminded

It’s terrible, our bubbles. We hide inside and shut out the world—sometimes on purpose, most times unknowingly. Like a horse race, we focus on the goal and miss the uniqueness that surrounds it, even if the goal is just a parking spot.

Culture is a beautiful thing. Sometimes, embracing it is as simple as walking outside.

Any good stories of meeting your neighbors? What else can we do to break our daily routines? Are all routines bad? I’d love some feedback.