Hi everyone! We’re almost the halfway point of summer! By now, parents across this country are running out of activities (or money) to keep their kids engaged and are counting down the minutes until school resumes and their lives can return to normal. For some lucky parents, their kids have snagged an internship. Or maybe you yourself are a newly-minted intern – or better yet, a newly-minted graduate with your first “real” job – and if so, congratulations! Welcome to the world where you realize your weekly paycheck barely covers rent, let alone a case of Bud Light. And if everything keeps going your way, you should be able to pay off those student loans by 2035!
Every year a bunch of bright-tailed, bushy-eyed go-getters show up at companies across the world ready to make their imprint on the business world. It’s exciting!! And it’s got me thinking – I wonder how those interns and new hires are doing?
But it’s not just about them. Yes, it’s tough to navigate an internship or first job post-college. But surprisingly, it’s also tough on the old people – i.e. the co-workers who have been working at your company for 10 years and now have to put up with all these fresh, eager, frustrating minds.
In order to help out all sides, I’ve put together the Survival Guide for Summer Solstice – your handy guide to surviving (and thriving) in these exciting times.
Survival Guide for Summer Solstice – Survival Characteristics Needed For Interns or New Hires
New on the job? Let’s talk about the survival characteristics you need to be showcasing.
- An insatiable appetite for limited to no responsibility! You’re young. You can’t be trusted with anything resembling important. In fact, the older people you work with will probably go out of their way to let you know that every day. (Especially the curmudgeonly ones, which is a fun word to say. Try it. Curmudgeonly.) So in order to survive summer, be realistic about what you’re going to “learn” during your internship or first job. It’s less about the project and responsibilities and more about learning the process of how businesses operate which you’ll want to focus on.
- The ability to appear busy! Depending on your role, it’s likely you’re going to have some free-time throughout the summer. Look busy! Stare at your lack of emails with inquisitive looks on your face; it gives the impression you’re thinking really hard! Or, figure out how to use the downtime more effectively. Setting up meetings should be part of your plan if you want to build your network and personal capital. Especially for interns, it might just help land a permanent job at the end of the summer.
- Resourcefulness in wardrobe! Chances are if you’re a guy, you’ve got 2 suits your parents bought you in college or as a graduation gift. And let’s be honest – big people clothes are expensive and you’re not trading in your weekend nights out in order to save $500 for a suit. So start figuring out how many shirt/pant/tie/jacket combinations you can get out of those 2 suits. Little tip – nobody pays attention to pants! Wear the suit pants 7 days in a row and if you switch up the shirt on top, nobody will notice!! That’s true as long as you don’t smell. So buy some deodorant and start looking for outfits which can double in the office as well as your nights out.
Survival Guide to Summer Solstice: Pitfalls to avoid for the “older” people
Been on the job a while and trying to figure out how to work with these newbies? If you’re more of a seasoned vet in the office:
- Don’t assume this is their dream job! Just because they got an internship with your company doesn’t mean it’s their end-all dream. It’s likely this job is merely something to pad their resume or build experience. So talking to them about their “career goals” might not be your best ice breaker. Instead, ask them what they want to learn during their internship. If you’re managing one of them, look for opportunities where you can put them in a position to learn.
- Leverage their strengths! Depending on which book you read, we should either all be working on our professional weaknesses or highlighting our strengths. But in fairness, these youngsters may not have the time available to really focus on their weaknesses. So leverage their strengths to help your company solve a problem or issue you’ve been facing.
Some simple strategies to make this process as easy as possible on all parties. Put them to use and you might survive the summer after all!
Until next time!