Written by: Wes Lin
… by really REALLY trying.
One of the things that has been interesting for me as an intern, starting on the date that I did, was that I came in at the close of FY11, our fiscal year 2011. As such, there were a ton of projects being wrapped up, and that meant that they were in a stage where I couldn’t really jump in. So what is an intern to do?
There were a few things that I could get started on proactively, but it was a lot of hurry up to wait while we got the budget for FY12 and figured out our strategic goals for the upcoming 12 months. So what did I do?
I made work for myself. I took initiative and created my own projects and tried to fill needs that I saw that maybe had not been seen before. A great thing about having an intern come into an organization is that they can offer a fresh perspective as an outsider that is working as an insider. For instance, I’ve introduced the HR division to Twitter and even took it upon myself to create accounts for them. Believe me, it was like pulling teeth. Some people really don’t mind the dentist, and some avoid it like the plague and won’t go until forced. The analogy works both ways as well: I don’t imagine pulling someone’s teeth is very easy. It’s messy, unpleasant, takes a lot of wiggling and pulling, and elbow grease. But the tools are there for them to use when and if they decide to do so.
I mentioned the Birkman assessment in my previous post, and I will talk about it in detail in a separate blog (it’s honestly that cool), and here I’ll talk about it a little more. My Birkman assessment revealed that I like to have a very full plate and lots of structure. And when those needs aren’t met, I tend to “press” my colleagues (AKA hunt them down in their cubes, and then corner them with a barrage of questions neatly organized on my legal pad) for immediate feedback and responses. I can’t say that this approach works well for all organizations, but it has for me at OCLC. Being an intern is not like being at a sit down restaurant. People aren’t always gonna fill your plate, sometimes you just have to go to the buffet and serve yourself.