Thursday, July 26, 2012


Usually at my internship there isn't much variation in the conduct of day-to-day activities. I wake up at 6 AM, get out of the house by 7, arrive at work by 9 and then hang out at a desk taking on projects and assignments from all over our office.

But today started differently, because rather than going into the comfort of what I've known and done for several weeks now, I was asked to reflect on internships in general and the opportunity I've been given specifically.

The thing about internships, or at least those that are offered at my place of work is that they're so based around introspection and questioning. Even more than actual work that we do once we graduate, when we're given the chance to take on this lowly position we're asked to analyze it as if it's the most significant experience in our lives.

For some people, maybe it is. maybe making copies and performing office tasks allows them to think critically about the world around them.

During my intern breakfast it felt like that's what they wanted to keep reminding us. For an hour and 45 minutes, we discussed networking and insights into building careers, using even the most dull opportunities to prove that we can be successful employees.

In my past five weeks of interning, I've had to keep reminding myself of this. That even though I may not be doing all that I'd like to "on the job," that everything I can do also has value.

It reminds me a lot of a crisis I've had at my work study job at university. working in the Archives, I often feel held back by the sheer quantity of copies I make, by the number of file locations I've had to memorize, by the amount of times I've had to go into storage dungeons to locate a random document that some alumnus requested.

In fact, I don't just deal with this crisis, I complain about it too.

Last year I almost transferred out of a job I felt happy and comfortable with because I became so incredibly picky abut what I believed I should be doing versus what I was doing. I'd long for either less work or more, but I was never happy with what I had.

The business world is outfitted to encourage us to keep pursuing upward mobility. The commonly utilized system of networking practically begs us to never let ourselves become too satisfied with where we are. Instead, it asks us to reach for the stars and deliberately force anyone who gives us a chance along the ay to push us even further with recommendations and suggestions of connections, or even mentorship.

My problem is that though I enjoy being put to more work and learning anything beyond the copy machine, my social skills just don't facilitate it.

I wish there was a part of my conscience that begged me to be more proactive and aggressive. Sometimes I feel exactly the opposite of those things. Then I go to a networking intern breakfast and have the feelings enforced even more.

So it's time for a change, or at least time to learn to be more social and inquisitive. Even when I'd much rather burrow into a hole, it's something that I need to face. I'll keep you updated on my progress.

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