Picture a typical down day: It’s 3 p.m., and Flavia machine is calling your name. Meandering through the jungle of Xerox machines and close-knit cubicles, you find yourself face to face with the head of the web department – someone you’ve been eager to talk to. What do you do? A. Say nothing, B. Say anything, C. Seize the opportunity, introduce yourself, make small talk and express your interest in their work.
If you answered anything other than C, there’s work to be done my fellow interns! The fact of the matter is that although instinct should guide us to proper office etiquette, we know all too well that things are easier said than done.
James Stevens said, “Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.” No matter how silly or awkward you may feel reaching out to someone in a different department, or even someone in your own, I highly encourage you to banish that fear and be bold. The value of going out of your way and offering to help employees, once other work is finished of course!, extends far beyond the scope of an internship end date.
Taking time to meet with other departments outside of regular working hours adds unparalleled depth beyond any internship curriculum. Not only does this help you make lasting connections and establish personal repertoire, but it also showcases clear interest in the company.
Express enthusiasm for your employer and for your supervisors’ lives beyond the 9 to 5 grind by asking employees to grab a cup of coffee or lunch. If your workplace is rigid and fast-paced, ask for ten minutes of their time instead. Work to work around their schedules. In my experience, most professionals are eager to help interns who make the effort to reach out.
During my summer internship, I made an effort to meet with editors outside of my department. Getting to ask people about their jobs and background was one of my favorite things about interning this summer. It was incredible getting to speak with those I admired!
Embrace the opportunity to reach out to those within your reach – employees in the office. Make yourself known in a good way. Bring energy to the workplace! Smile, introduce yourself, strike up conversation, be polite, be aware, be professional, and most importantly, stay positive. A cheerful worker is an efficient and well-respected worker. For more tips on internship etiquette, here’s a great article from Experience.com: http://www.experience.com/alumnus/article?channel_id=internships&source_page=home&article_id=article_1126286325635
I am indebted to any professional who sacrificed 10 minutes of time to speak with me. I am grateful for those conversations and certain that we will continue to keep in touch. I encourage you to reach out and do the same. Sometimes you won’t succeed. Some people will be unwilling to help, and others won’t. All it takes is one successful meeting to leave you feeling accomplished, rejuvenated and ready to take on the professional world!
Keep dreaming, keep achieving and don’t let fear hold you back. -Catherine