What’s Your POV?

If you happen to eavesdrop on any sort of meeting about strategy or creative review at Target Optical, you will most likely hear the phrase, “What’s your point of view?”  Your point of view (or more commonly known as POV; acronyms are huge here) is exactly what it sounds like:  your opinion and thoughts on the strategy to a specific project.

From working here, I realized how important it is to have a POV.  When my manager asks me my thoughts on messaging strategy options, she doesn’t want to hear, “Oh I like all of the ideas” or “I don’t think it really matters which one we use”.  She wants to hear my opinion.  More importantly, she wants to hear my reasoning as to how I came to that opinion.

At first the whole POV thing threw me off; it just seemed way too subjective.  As my internship progressed, though, I finally understood it.  Thinking through your POV helps you align with the overall strategy of the project; it helps you develop reasons as to why you think the way you do and how that relates to the overall objective.  Having a POV also shows your team members that you are engaged with and care about what you are working on-never a bad thing!

I bet that your company will be asking for your POV too, even if they don’t explicitly use the phrase POV.  And you better be prepared with an answer when do.

My Experience With Failure and What I Learned From It

This past Thursday I overcame the biggest hurdle of my summer internship experience. I planned a Seminar on Social Security and managed to get enough seats filled to make the whole experience worthwhile. This task was far from easy; I sent out dozens of e-mails and calls around the city looking for interested parties and was told no time and time again. Nonetheless, success is oftentimes a numbers game and I set the lofty expectation for 20-25 attendees. I managed to get 26. Everything went well and I went to bed that night expecting to write my next blog on the intricacies of my successful seminar project. 6 hours later, disaster would strike and I decided to share my story of catastrophe from the next morning instead.

I was given simple instructions by my boss; we’re going fishing with a client the next morning, meet me at my house at 6 A.M. I’ve never been to his house before, but in the world of GPS phones and MapQuest what could go wrong? I woke up with plenty of time to spare the next morning. I was a little disheartened to see my phone trudging along at 5%, but didn’t think too much about it. I printed out MapQuest directions as an alternative and set off for my bosses with plenty of time to spare.

Sometimes, when life is going well, a construction site comes out of nowhere and flips everything on its back. Well, this literally happened to me about 5 miles from my destination. My directions were all but useless after I emerged from the construction area. I used the remaining 5% of my battery to tell my boss I would be 10 minutes late and scrape up what little sense of direction I could from my phone’s GPS. For the next two hours nothing went right; it was a perfect storm. I couldn’t find my bosses house, no gas station I visited could give me good directions, and I couldn’t for the life of me find a place that would let me use their phone to tell my boss I wouldn’t make it.

I felt overwhelmed with panic at the ensuing events. When I finally got ahold of my boss he was annoyed with me, but surprisingly compassionate. I felt furious with myself for letting him down, and decided to do the next best thing and head into the office to get some work done. The next time I saw my boss I could hardly look him in the eye because I felt so terrible. He was a little disappointed, but I had experienced the biggest failure of my internship and had yet to be shown the door.

I’ve decided that shortcomings tend to stem from one of two avenues; a lapse in judgement or a character flaw. I’m still here today because my boss knows I’m a hard-worker and have a positive attitude. However, I experienced an enormous lapse in judgement this past week. I’ll no doubt pay for this lapse and will be expected to earn back my accountability, but my boss realizes my shortcomings were reparable. After taking time to gain some perspective, I’ve realized that this may not even be the biggest failure I experience in my professional career. There may be times when I let others down or lose money because of an error in judgement. What’s most important is that I can look myself in the mirror and promise I’ll learn from this experience and never make the same mistake again.

 

8-5

My internship, like most accounting internships or full-time jobs, consists of being in the office from 8am to 5pm Monday through Friday. This typical 40-hour work week is very different from the average college student’s schedule. It takes some time to adjust yourself to this schedule both mentally and physically. Give it time and you’ll learn to love the lifestyle and learn a few tricks to make the most of the work day.

Working 8-5 has both its pros and cons. Let’s start with the pros: you’re done at 5, you have nothing to do on the weekends, your schedule is consistent and planned out ahead of time, and you don’t have to worry about work once you leave the office. The cons (which I find to be a simple annoyance): you have to get up bright and early every morning and staying focused for eight hours straight can be difficult. When I compare the 8-5 workday to my own college schedule, I find that I am usually busy 8 to midnight during school but have a lot of wasted time such as travelling between classes and napping. In the end, while the work week schedule may appear different than my college student schedule, both lifestyles keep my busy, occupied, engaged, and motivated.

In college I don’t drink coffee regularly. Since the beginning of my internship, I have learned to love coffee. Coffee gives me that boost to be motivated and productive throughout the work day. Drinking coffee has real benefits such as keeping you energized and focused. When I’ve got a tough day ahead of me, I know that coffee can help make a long eight hour work day feel short.

One of the reasons why an 8-5 workday can be tough is because there aren’t too many large breaks during the day. Your desk chair can get uncomfortable after just a few hours. Finding reasons to get up and walk around even if just for a couple of minutes helps to lessen the toll that the long day takes on you.

Given that Midland isn’t a large city, I am able to go home for lunch and still have plenty of time to eat before heading back. My tip is to try to get out of the office for lunch every once in a while. Getting away from the office for lunch helps to take your mind off of work and rejuvenate you in time for the second half of the work day.

Reflecting on my internship, I now realize that working 8-5 isn’t as bad as some will make it out to be. I believe the positive work-life balance far outweighs the few cons of the long work day. I’ve learned a few of the tricks above to help keep me focused and motivated throughout the day. When my mind is focused on the work in front of me, the days fly by.

The power of being fearless- Cold Emails

The purpose of this post is to show you how to get anyone in your company to respond to your email. I have had success using the techniques below while interning at PepsiCo.

Disclaimer: The techniques mentioned in this blog post were derived from The Competitive Edge podcast Episode 30.

Before the Email

It is possible to reach ANYONE in your company by phone for a short conversation. If you are not afraid of rejection, you can get in touch with anyone through cold emailing.

How to Find an Email

If your company uses Microsoft Office, you have access to all employees’ email in your company. Steps to get an email are shown in the pictures below

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Articulating the Email

Below is an email I sent to a Senior Vice President at PepsiCo (the equivalent of the CFO for supply chain) asking for career advice.

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The Breakdown

Subject Line

Grab their attention. Make a subject line that will draw attention and sum up why you are emailing them.

My example: Following in Your Footsteps

Introduction

Cut straight to the point; do not waste words on meaningless background facts (hometown, school major, interests etc.). The short introduction is vital; you will capture the person’s attention in the first sentence. Throw something in at the end of the sentence that will make them want to read more.

My Example: I aspire to be as impactful as you have been in PepsiCo and the world.

Gaging interest

The second sentence is the most important part of the email. You must connect on an emotional level here. In my email, I brought up an achievement of his which he is extremely proud of while relating it to myself. Referencing something specific shows you have researched the person and are serious about getting time on his/her calendar. When bringing up a topic that connects you and your targeted executive, keep in mind it can be anything that you relate to. Some examples are an article the person wrote, an interview that he/she gave, a position they held, specific accomplishments or even a personal hobby you both share.

My example: Your influence on Gatorade, my favorite drink, to move it to a Kosher beverage is truly amazing especially because half my family keeps Kosher.

Specific Time – 10,3

Put time on their calendar and be specific. It’s harder for someone to say no if you found an open timeslot on their calendar, exemplify that you have a plan and are not going to waste a second with them. A personal rule of mine is to request ten minutes of their time to ask three questions. Ten minutes is short enough where they can be willing to speak to you but long enough where you can get some good information.

My example: I have put time on your calendar to speak with you on Thursday at 10:00 but will only need ten minutes of your time to ask you three questions.

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Throwing in a blog2 towards the end of your email lightens up the subject matter. Do not use this for every person you email though. You must understand what industry this person is in and if it will be taken in a positive or negative way. If you can find out that the person is easy going definitely throw it in there.

My example: I’m looking forward to your response blog2

Proofread!

Notice how I had a grammar error because I did not proofread. Always double check your work to avoid a costly mistake.

Persistence

Anticipate that the executive will initially deny your request to have a phone call. BE PERSISTENT. I sent my email request three days in a row until the executive accepted my meeting with him.

 

Best of luck and happy interning!

 

3 Characteristics of Small Businesses

Every internship experience is different. My experience so far this summer has been very unique. Working for a small, local business allows me to view many requirements it takes to start-up and run a business with not a lot of people.

1. You wear many hats.

Since there aren’t many employees, every day work can be a hodge-podge of “to-do’s” . As a marketing intern, I have helped pour, keg, and can beer. Canning beer is a long process and you feel like a factory worker, but you can drink during it so it’s not so bad. I’ve also taken out the trash and cleaned up a bit. Taking out the trash isn’t just the intern’s job though, I’ve seen the owners of the company empty the garbage. Everyone chips in.

2.You are still trying to figure it out.

There aren’t instructions on how everything is supposed to run because it hasn’t happened before. You aren’t sure on how an event will go, because it will be the first one. There  are a lot of trials and errors when putting on an event or making a new beer. My first event I planned at the brewery was everything but a success, but I learned a few tricks for the next event. You’re not going to know how the customer will react to a new product until they try it, so you just have to wait and find out.

3.Fun Atmosphere

One thing’s for sure, it’s a fun place to work. Everyone is working towards the same goal of trying to build up the company. There isn’t much competition to be promoted since everyone has their own specific role. You become very close with your co-workers because there are so few you. Work hard, play harder seems to be the motto of start-up businesses, despite the industry.