Let me preface this by saying I am an extremely open and forgiving person. In no way am I a Miranda Preistly –esque boss, nor am I just a recent grad on a power trip.
I was here before—where you are now—and I remember what it was like to feel the pressure of a two-ton weight on my chest just thinking about all the expectations and tasks of the magazine I was lucky enough to intern for. But maybe that’s just it—maybe you don’t feel that way at all.
When I interned here last summer, I was giddy each morning quite literally bouncing into the office, stashing my phone way before I hit the elevator and straightening my skirt diligently before I sat down at my desk. I answered emails a half second after someone on the team sent one, and my response to any request was a consistent “Sure thing! I’ll get right on it.” And I did get right on it. I kept a consistent (but not creepy) smile on my face and said “good morning” and “have a great night” to every person I passed. At the end of my internship, I wrote hand-written cards to each person on my team, and now I’m working for them as their web assistant.
The attitude I described above is not an overachieving one, but the expected one. I didn’t go above and beyond—I did my job well, which was the point anyway.
You have a lot to learn and you’ll be leaving us in just a short few months, so let’s not waste time.
DO: Keep a positive attitude at all times, and I mean at all times. There will be moments when the computer is freezing and a project is due, but keeping your cool is the only way you’ll come out of it a winner—even if you are a bit late.
DON’T: Have your phone out—ever. Unless you’re waiting for a phone call from a family emergency or something else that you explain prior to the day you have it out, I shouldn’t be seeing it.
DO: Take breaks when you need them. Staring at a screen all day or running around working on projects for all the editors can get tough, and we want you to be your best, so take a lunch break! Take a snack break!
DON’T: Up and leave for 30 minutes four times a day without telling anyone where you’re going. I mean, is there really a standard for how many times you get up from your desk to go somewhere? Not technically, but I’m still judging you.
DO: Look busy. There is always something to do, and if there really isn’t, ask!
DON’T: Sit at your desk sighing. Man, is that obvious even if you think it isn’t. I can tell exactly where you don’t want to be, and that doesn’t make me want to hire you in the least.
DO: Nourish yourself. Obviously, as stated above.
DON’T: Hover around the snack table for half the day. I’m not going to tell you to stop snacking, but I will tell you that you’re wasting time and that your crunching in my ear for 4 hours straight is distracting me.
DO: Keep up with the pace. An office is like a well-oiled machine, and when one person is missing deadlines and forgetting to check emails regularly, the whole team can go down.
DON’T: Stop asking questions if you need clarification. There is nothing worse than when you give someone a task and they end up doing the project wrong because they never asked questions.
Most of all, this experience, believe it or not, is not about your growth or your plans. This is about the growth of the company.