Thursday, April 4, 2013

My internship lessons....almost twenty years later

Before I get into this weeks topic, big news on my side of things.  I’ve decided to move out to California and rejoin Google.  Really excited about the opportunity and looking forward to the challenge.  Here I come Silicon Valley!

Now to the topic at hand...internships.  Lots of bloggers and talking heads will tell you the most important thing about an internship is the “experience” and they are right...however, one thing they miss is the long term importance of reflecting on that experience you gained.  Sounds crazy right?  Not really, I finished my first internship almost twenty years ago and there are still HUGE lessons I learned then which help me today.

For those who don’t know, I started my career in politics (long story) and my first internship was in Concord NH as a lobbyist/legislative assistant at the NH Lodging and Restaurant Association.  My boss was amazing and is someone who although we don’t connect often who I still respect and admire.  Anyway, almost twenty years later here are a few lessons from my first internship:

Be ready for anything - This might be the best part of internship...they constantly change.  On my first day I found out that someone had left the team and I’d have to take on more responsibility.  DAY ONE!  It was a great chance to step up and I took it.

Work hard - I don’t think I’ve ever worked harder than during this internship.  I loved it.  It felt so good to be actually working and getting things done.  It’s something that’ really stuck with me and I still credit my days at the the NHLRA for it.

First work lessons - There are some lessons you can only learn on the job.  Many of those came from my first internship (insert don’t drink on Tuesday night jokes here).  The great thing about internships is you’re there to learn and you’re expected to learn these lessons the hard way.

First references - So the experience is the best part of the internship but this is the most valuable.  Your first reference is worth its weight in gold.  Seriously, I can’t overstate this point.  That first reference can make or break your first job experience.  Do well and you’ll be set.

Ok, that’s it this week but I thought it was a great topic as folks are starting to find internships for the summer and they are a huge springboard for your career and will give back for years.

More soon, life is a little crazy with my move but I’ll keep writing!

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