“I didn’t even know you were an intern,”
402 days into a 409-day internship, and I can’t tell you how sweet those words are to hear.
“Well… I try not to act like one.”
Being an intern has been the most rewarding, humbling, and formative time of my life. In fact, I wouldn’t trade the last year, month, and six days for anything. At some point during that time though, a light bulb had to click on, and things had to change internally in order for me to be a week away from walking into the office as a full-time employee.
I realized I could no longer exist in a purely reactionary manner. My internship could no longer be about whether or not it would lead to a job. The fact is, I had a job, and my responsibility was to own it. Would this internal change make my pay check increase? No. Would it elevate my position within the company’s org chart? No. What would change was that whatever work, project or task came my way; I would crush it. Done early and better than expected. Then I would start working; dreaming of ways I could personally carry the vision of the company.
Dear Interns Everywhere,
At the end of your internship you should not be interested in being given a job, you want to have earned it. If they don’t have a position for you, be so good that they scramble to create one for you just to keep you in the building, and here is the key to accomplishing all of that, do it with more humility than you think you have.
Next week I will walk into my job feeling honored to be here, rather than entitled to more, because genuine humility is a powerful thing. The people around you will follow humility no matter your pay grade.
If you don’t want to be an intern, stop acting like one. Own your job; don’t covet someone else’s. Rise to every challenge, but never at the expense of others. Help others excel, with no expectations of any return. Be the most respectful person in the office, and never forget that public loyalty leads to private leverage.
The sooner people forget you are an intern, the sooner you won’t be.