Dear Future Intern…
This blog post is by Jazzmyn Falloon, who is a part of the internship program at Office Divvy. She is learning and contributing as part of digital team. But because all interns must have an understanding of the whole business, The Call Desk, Colocation, Classes, and Coworking, they all must be on the ready to contribute to tasks both big and small with equal enthusiasm and thoroughness.
This is her story to all of the future interns out there, to help in that critical moment, where you’ve been asked to work on something and things are not going as planned.
Dear future Office Divvy intern,
I’m here to share my mistakes with you so they never become your mistakes. My hope is that, if you’re thinking about interning at Office Divvy, you will find this blog post to help you in the future.
So, don’t number one:
Don’t ever clean a glass table with Pledge.
Let me explain further.
It was a peaceful Thursday night here at Office Divvy, I was the only intern working, and the day was coming to a close. I had completed my work for the day and my last task was to clean a few offices before I headed out.
There are two cleaning kits kept in the office, one on each side, that contain glass cleaner, wood cleaner, little alcohol wipes, and some paper towel. I grabbed the kit and began my journey to clean the offices. When I looked through the kit, I noticed that the usual glass cleaner used was not there; in it’s place was Pledge, a wood cleaner. I came to the conclusion that the wood cleaner had to be in the kit for a reason – maybe the glass cleaner was finished, or maybe this cleaner worked just as well as any.
This was mistake number one. If you have a question about something, ask it. I was a little unsure about using this new cleaner, but I convinced myself it was not something I needed to ask about – I could figure it out myself.
I began cleaning off the tables and started to realize that this cleaner didn’t work as well as the usual one; it left a sort of waxy residue that wasn’t normally left there. I assumed the marks would simply fade away on their own, as many cleaners work that way, but they didn’t. This was mistake number two. NEVER make assumptions. If something isn’t crystal clear, once again, ask someone.
Once I was all finished “cleaning” the tables, I let my boss Ky know that I had to leave for the day. “Have you cleaned all of the offices?” He asked me. I responded that I had, and he went to check them for himself. He came back to me and told me that I had done it all wrong. I was a little surprised. I hadn’t thought I had done anything wrong at the moment.
Ky told me that I had ruined the tables. I began to freak out internally. “Had I really ruined the tables?” I asked myself. My second thought was “well, this internship has been a good run.” Ky continued to explain to me (retrospectively, in a joking manner) that it seems like I didn’t take the task of cleaning tables very seriously. It was never my intention to seem that way and it was very discouraging that I did.
Here is another tip: Make sure you try to present yourself in a way that shows that you care about the work you are doing. Ask questions and be involved even if it seems hard at first. Share your opinion. Doing this will help you immensely in the workplace. Even if you truly do care about what you’re doing, if you keep everything to yourself, it can seem like you don’t.
My other boss, Lisa helped me understand specifically what I did wrong. She walked me through and showed me that although Ky had used the word ruined – which evokes the meaning that something cannot be fixed; that it is damaged beyond repair – that it was a small mistake that could be fixed easily. This made me feel much better and put me in a more positive mindset to use that mistake to my advantage.
The situation stung a little, but I told myself to suck it up and just use that day as a learning experience. If a situation like this ever happens, hopefully you’ll remember this post and it helps you. Making a mistake can be discouraging sometimes, but it happens and all you can do is make it a positive experience by taking the feedback and applying it so next time, that you don’t make the same mistake.
Learning objectives in this blog post are: The importance of using a fool-proof checklist for all tasks, even the seemingly mundane ones and also the importance of asking questions when something doesn’t seem quite right.
All in all, I hope this helped you, future intern.
Don’t be afraid to speak up. If you’re unsure of something, it’s probably for a reason. Follow your gut.
Good luck, future intern!
- Gen Z and Millennial Response to Simon Sinek’s Millennials Video - May 20, 2017
- Dear Future Intern… - November 19, 2016