Set a Powerful Precedent

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It’s summer time in the office. Along with a more relaxed dress code and the sun still shining when you clock out, there are also more people in the office. They aren’t full-time employees, and they didn’t get added to the phone directory. However, they sit in the meetings, make copies, answer phones and add to the low hum of chitchat. They are the interns.

The interns are there to learn, in plain English, “how work works.” Observing the flow of a meeting, the main content selected for a PowerPoint presentation, how to interact with a client and networking within the office is done in the name of an internship. Interns are looking for people who are not only in the know, but are also key factors in the office. They seek out the staff member whose name they hear much of the time—the person the manager refers to when he has questions about a client or project. The person whom the majority of the office workers have positive things to say about. The person who is always moving, either physically or mentally, in a productive way. Is it you? Depending on how great you are at your job, this is where the rubber meets the road.

Take an honest look at yourself. Is your light shining as brightly as it could be? Reflect on whether or not you find yourself doing the following:

• Raising your hand to take on new challenges • Offering solutions in meetings • Taking the initiative to start projects and assist with existing assignments • Taking the time to write concise client communications • Connecting (without being told to) with clients and other department staff • Involving yourself in career-affiliated associations and attending regular meetings • Networking with staff at all levels to keep in touch with the “big picture” of the company

At the end of the summer, interns migrate back to campuses across the country. The first week back, in between the parties, they share their internship experiences with each other. Will what they learned be shared and noted that it came from you? You’ll know by the end of September if you were a bright star in the office. Look for an email thanking you and asking for a professional reference!