Tuesday, May 6, 2014

3 Lessons Learned From Interns

It’s Intern Season in Corporate America, so it’s time to brush up on few lessons before they arrive:

1. It’s OK to Dress Up for Work.

The interns at Verizon are always impeccably dressed and they, incongruously, add an air of professionalism to our office. Without interns, the summer dress code here might best be described as “anarchy.”

Since I’m not a men's basketball coach or NFL pre-game analyst, it may not be necessary for me to wear a suit and tie to work every day. But the interns dress as if the workplace is somewhere important. They care enough to try to impress someone – and that's commendable.

2. I’m Fortunate to Work Here.

Not “lucky.” Not “undeserving.” But, yes, fortunate.

The interns here are very smart, well-educated, diverse (sometimes multilingual), highly competitive… and even they think they’re fortunate to be here. I don't encounter many interns who think they are entitled.

No matter. Time will teach interns that they’re not entitled to anything. Time also teaches every one of us never to take anything for granted.

3. Technology Kills.

Watching interns seamlessly integrate technology into their daily lives is a thing of beauty.

Does all this technology engender a lack of focus? Perhaps. Does all this access to data consumption and manipulation compensate for a lack of experience? Certainly not.

Still, fearlessness combined with expertise can be a powerful thing. Technology can spark creativity and passion, and narrow the experience gap.

So I love and respect technology too. I also keep in mind that interns are not like sheep who fill up the parking lot, add to the lunch line and mass-inhabit otherwise empty office space.

They’re more like next-generation wolves in sheep’s clothing.
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