We asked our summer PR intern, Emily Grund, to write a weekly column talking about her internship experience at The Castle Group. Please read Emily’s posts on Mondays to hear about her latest intern adventures. This week, are your interns exposed to change — and do they have the ability to roll with it?
Internships are important for a number of reasons. You get work experience, college credits, networking opportunities and if you’re lucky, compensation. Another important factor some interns may not expect to experience is adjusting to change. After all, interns are temporary and it is easy to assume you will come and go while everything at the company stays the same. So far, however, I have experienced some form of change at every internship I’ve had. This lesson at times has been the most vital as it has taught me a great deal of what to expect in the “real world.”
Change happens suddenly. Whether it is layoffs, resignations or promotions, such changes often happen overnight. Before interning anywhere, I assumed that changes at work were gradual or half expected. I have learned that is not always the case, and changes in responsibilities need to be quick and smooth in order to keep a company going. Though I have experienced abrupt changes more than once, it is still hard to see them coming, but overall seeing these changes has taught me to keep an open mind and know that anything can happen.
There is a silver lining. Change, good or bad, can be a difficult transition. People fear the unknown. It is no different while working. The cliché “when one door closes another one opens” often proves true. Whether it’s a new project or working with new people, I have seen the benefit of change even if it means losing something else. By watching people I have worked with, I have learned the trick is to be confident in knowing the silver lining exists.
Moving on is essential. “The show must go on” and so must business. The biggest difference I’ve seen between personal change and change at work is how people cope with it. For personal change, there is more time to reflect and assess a situation, but at work “coping” sometimes needs to wait until work is done. As an intern, I still feel I’m a beginner at separating the personal and professional, but learning this early on is necessary for success in the future.
In the end, interns come and go but it’s an important lesson to learn that other things happen in between. Though at times it seems interns see only a snapshot of what a company is like, being there during times of change show a great deal more.