October 28, 2005

Ah Yes, Remembering the Internship Years

Almost everyone has paid their dues by being an intern at some point early in their career. Remember how it felt to be eager, green, and still in school? You had to really stand out and that meant working faster, smarter and proving that you knew how to use the tools. The simplest project became a huge endeavor as you worked and reworked your approach. Most important, you didn’t want to look too green by asking a lot of questions. Result: lots of time invested and not many results.

Cutting your teeth like this is essential and what better place to do it than in a nonprofit organization? I’m now working alongside five interns and each one has their own unique approach to problem solving. The most remarkable are the ones that are either in super-slo-mo and work as though they are indentured servants – and the ones that work super fast and make huge errors.

Example: a lovely intern spent six hours over two days creating 8.5”x11” signs for an upcoming event. There are a total of eight signs and the most complex has 15 words. Somehow this turned into the project that just won’t end. She has now loaded Photoshop and Illustrator on three computers, attempted to install two printers, has saved the documents in a variety of file formats and still she can’t get them to print. Wouldn’t a simple word processing program have done the trick? Well no, how would she shine if she used only Word?

At least the event is tomorrow so her resourcefulness has to end soon! I’ll bring cardboard and Sharpies just in case.