Being at the bottom of the corporate food chain as an intern is quite an interesting experience to go through.
Superior co-workers go all out to make you feel like the underpaid assistant to everyone that you are, which in some weird way, is good for you because it allows you to grow a thick skin and to work hard at proving yourself as a professional.
I can tolerate doing all the boring admin work that no full timer wants to do because I get to learn a great deal about the job and about the industry, but I’ve had to learn how to be emotionally intelligent as an intern in order to prove myself as a professional.
I’ve learned to not take offense when I walk into the office in the morning and respectfully great my superiors and get no response. It used to bother me because I found it rude, but I’ve learned that they don’t owe me courtesies, and frankly I don’t have to greet anyone when I come in for work. No one really cares much about courtesies when deadlines are all over the show.
I’m always ignored and excluded from conversations. I’m met with an awkward silence when I try to enter the ongoing conversation by throwing out a statement. It turns out that it’s not my place to try and be sociable with superior co-workers, and they will ignore me because I still need to earn their respect. Now, I just stay out of conversations that don’t include me and go on about my business.
I also can’t just talk for the sake of talking, especially in meetings. Superior co-workers already think that interns are a nuisance, so blabbing on with nothing of value to say creates a perception of ignorance and stupidity. I do like it when I contribute meaningfully in meetings by coming up with solutions. I don’t get a pat on the back for it, but I know that they’re listening and taking note.
My superior co-workers won’t hesitate to tell me when I’m a fashion disaster in as bland a manner as possible. I’ve learned not to be offended because at the end, it is constructive criticism for my own good. Looking professionally chic is also part of the job.
Being an intern is something that every professional will have to go through in order to kick-start their career. Just do your work well and be emotionally intelligent.
*image from Thought Catalog.