Lessons from a Summer Internship

We had a really bright Intern for a 2 month Summer Internship at Work Better. Since I had known this young man for a while I knew the potential he had. I thus set an extremely challenging project with aggressive targets and had high expectations of him.

While the project started extremely well, at the end of 2 months, the output was not up to my expectations. But the good part was, I probably learnt more than the Intern himself:

  1. Every strength can be a weakness too: Our Intern was an Ideas man. I was floored by his ability to ideate in the first couple of weeks. However, with time I realised he had way too many ideas. Every day, he would get distracted by a new idea that would interest him. He would keep the existing work on hold to explore something new. The end result – lots of ideas, very little execution. This is a very common issue with a lot of people. They somehow manage to screw up their strengths by overdoing it in some way. That’s exactly what our intern did.
  1. The importance of focus: Everyday at office, there will be a lot of different things that could distract you. But know your priorities and concentrate on one thing at a time.
  1. You are not always going to like doing stuff. Yet you have to do it: When our intern first came on board, he was extremely excited about the project at hand. He had been following up way before his scheduled break from college. The level of enthusiasm for the first couple of weeks was very high. But soon after, the interest levels started dropping. During the review session at the end of 2 months, the intern confessed to getting bored on days as the project got monotonous in his mind. When A.R Rahman’s Jai Ho became an international phenomenon, I saw him perform the same track at so many different places. But every time he performed, there was a certain amount of passion that reflected through each of his performances. It must have been monotonous to keep performing the same track – but he did it. Cause that’s how things work. Irrespective of what you do, there are going to be days at work that are going to be frustrating. If you are a Sales professional, you will sell in some way. As a training consultant, I have to talk about more or less the same things every day. But yet you have to do it. And you have to do it well. Have to give it your best and try to get better with every new attempt.
  1. Working together is different than knowing each other to know the true match: Irrespective of how much you may like someone as a friend or person, the dynamics of working together are very different. The only way to know if you work well together is to try and work together. Have a clearly stated exercisable exit clause [most companies do] and let the first few months be a test of the same.
  1. Being Sincere to the task at hand: Most importantly, being sincere to the task at hand. If you take up a job or an assignment, don’t cheat on it by not giving it your 100%. Being insincere is more about cheating yourself than anyone else.

Our life is a result of the decisions we take everyday. Our Intern decided not to give his best on his 2 month project. Every time you get into a Business Relationship with people or company, concentrate on building trust by doing the best you can. Every positive & sincere performance helps your own Personal Equity in the long run. So give your best to what your doing OR don’t do it at all.

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