You could call me an intern. Let me show you why I’m not
Trading coffee cups for sticky notes
Every morning I wake up at 6 o’clock to choose an outfit suitable to both my personality and work. By 7:40 I’m rushing out my apartment door in a floral print dress and high heels, and hurriedly squeezing onto a Metrobus headed downtown. It’s 8:20 when the bus arrives at Madison Place. I walk a half-mile to the doors of the Subject Matter office building and walk into a near-empty workspace by 8:30 a.m.
Yes, I’m an intern. Can you tell?
Yet despite my title, no one asks me to get them coffee as they walk in the door.
Instead, I’m asked to research the latest news and find content to post on the firm’s social media accounts. I compile a list of potential stories and, once approved, create organic content. Rather than answering phones, I’m asked to join brainstorms, create presentation decks and copy edit websites. I quickly learn that my to-do list was always full.
Following lunch one Thursday, I get asked to join a meeting with one of the firm’s partners. Eager to learn whenever I can, I joined the meeting and listened closely to the discussion going on. There, at a glass table surrounded by six of my colleagues, I heard a striking phrase. “Before you tell what it is, show what it is not.”
I scribbled those words onto a notepad.
Following the meeting I returned to my desk and took several moments to think about the sentence. In that time I let my computer sleep and my mind awaken to my role in Subject Matter.
The many StickyNote tasks plastering my desk constantly remind me that, even as a short-term ‘employee,’ I have a fulfilling purpose at Subject Matter. This purpose was earned by proving my qualities with actions rather than words. Or rather, showing what I am not.
Far from the clichéd version of interns found onscreen, I ended my time at Subject Matter having worked alongside partners, vice presidents and account managers – and contributed to the success of projects, clients and the firm. My role was more than my title. I wasn’t just an intern, but a member of the team.