I think my takeaways are what most of you find the most useful and interesting when I talk about my internship experiences. I will grant that the perks tend to also be a big hit because who doesn't like free things, parties, or what have you? I'm in the second to last week of my internship, would have been my last week if I wasn't offered an extension, and have these really important takeaways that everyone can use.
1. Network Your Butt Off! - I think I talk about networking only every week in a different post and in a different way because it is just that important! Networking is not just shoving your business card in someone's face or introducing yourself so don't think that is all it is. Networking is having a conversation to someone, showing them you are interested in what they do or know, finding common interests (one of the people I networked with at Grand Central Publishing was an editor who sits behind me simply because I made a point to ask her if she wouldn't mind letting me read submissions and write a few reader reports), and showing what you can offer that person. Have a personality, smile, make appropriate jokes, laugh, easily navigate conversation, and at the end of it ensure to ask for a way to keep in touch whether that is offering or asking for a business card or exchanging emails. Almost anyone you work under or with while at an internship is a person that you can add to your network so take the time to have conversations with these people, ask them about their career choices and path, and tell them about yourself. I've done this with at least four people I don't normally work with but went out of my way to seek out in order to learn more and expand my network or people.
2. Smiling Gets You Far - Oh, if you've been reading my blog or know me you know I'm a very sarcastic and snarky person. When I'm at the office I tend to always smile and laugh because people like people who are pleasant so learn to grin and suck it up. If you're having a bad day you suck it up and still smile because that shows you know how to keep it together and understand what professionalism is. You don't have to like someone to smile and act politely, believe me, I know because I do it on a daily basis. If you're pleasant to work with that works in your favor for when you might need something from someone.
3. Learn the Work and Talk Balance - I'm one of the only interns I know that actually gets up from their desk and walks around to chat with others. I find it comical only because it seems people are scared to be seen as slackers. I crank out my work and turn things around efficiently while still making time to talk to others and that is something everyone should learn to do. Time management is important and I will never turn in a work assignment late because I decided to have an hour long chat with another worker or intern but I will pop over at other people's desk for a few minutes and talk to recharge after working for several hours or what have you. If you can master the work and talk/play balance young you will never have to worry as your continue in your career.
4. Notice How You Feel - This might make some of you laugh but really pay attention to how you feel. Do you dread coming in every day? Are you excited about projects? Do you not like waking up early but love the work you do? Do you get along with your boss and those you work with? Taking note of these things will show you if the industry is one you should pursue, if the position is one you should consider in the future, and if the team you work with is one you should keep in contact with for when open positions arise. For instance, I hate waking up early but don't hate when I'm at work. I love the projects I work on, the meetings, the way things come together, the books, my boss, and so on. For the most part, the office has a pretty positive vibe and people are friendly so I don't find myself dreading going to work. Looking at all of this I know that if I were to be hired on as a full-time worker at Grand Central Publishing, I wouldn't hate coming to work every day which is important.