March 13, 2014

.On why everyone needs an intern.

image found here.

Everyone needs an intern.  And I don't mean like the intern who gets you coffee and does the menial work you don't want to do; I mean a trainee who is working (many times for free) to learn your trade. I've had a few years' experience with interns (being one myself not so long ago), but this year I've actually been in charge of supervising them, and it's been an unexpected learning experience.

I think the key is having a good intern, but not always necessary.  A bad intern will force you to realize what's professionally important to you and not, and develop your assertive leadership skills.  A good intern asks questions that really make you think.  Interns come in with fresh, eager eyes, and without the hardened exterior that years on the frontline will do to you.  Interns come with ideas and passion that regular students don't quite yet possess, as they're just so ready to get their hands dirty.  Interns inquire about all kinds of things you haven't thought about in awhile, and ask for justification and rationale.  They just want to understand it all.  

It's given me a whole new excitement for my job.  It's helped to rejuvenate me and remember why I started.  It's forced me to sit and consider the why and how of it all instead of just the do.  It's rattled the sense of security and complacency in the best way possible.  It's accountability in the day-to-day; in your trade, in your conduct and professionalism, in your influence and management.

So no matter what you do for a living, the environment in which you work, corporate or at home, professional or parent, I think everyone needs an intern.  That junior voice that objectively examines and challenges, and helps you remember that the books and the trainings aren't what develop you, but the hustle.  It's in the hustle where we find success and fulfillment, and I have dutiful interns to thank for reminding me of that.

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