November is coming to a close and it’s winter internship season for many students. While still relatively fresh to the working world, I have consolidated some working rules which I have learned from my previous internship experiences and current working experience.
Rule #1: Always Address your Customers’ Needs and Wants
The first rule, which I have always stuck to as much as possible. My first internship included a UI/UX design of a system for users across South-East Asia. The first set of designs, while sophisticated and theoretically sound, it was not user friendly enough for ease of implementation. My first internship boss shared with me the importance of always serving the customer, which I have borne in mind since then, even joining my current company where serving customers is a core value. If you are implementing a new project in HR, then your stakeholders are the HR people. If you are presenting to management, then they are your stakeholders.
Rule #2: Always Keep Things Concise
Another of the workplace mess ups I had been guilty of during my first internship. I did up my first research task, the topic which I can’t remember. I was really proud of the work I prepared. I was about to send in a 10 page Microsoft Word text report to my manager. My manager came to check in, so I showed the report to her, hoping to get some positive affirmation. She was clearly shocked, but she explained to me why the working world is different from business school. There is no luxury of time, especially as one moves into middle or upper management.
To keep things concise, she told me to do some annotations with pictures so that information is broken into bite size pieces in order to be more readily visualised and understood. Moving forward, I transited to using slides which were more concise and bring the key point across. (Sometimes I presented everything in excel too, especially when doing information gathering.)
Rule #3: Always Observe the Situation
A third rule I have is to spend time understanding the situation. On two separate occasions, on hindsight I could have observed better but guess it was nice to have colleagues pointing out to me.
I once had the chance to dine with the senior vice president and the team. I got asked to suggest a place to eat, and my manager and one colleague went off to the washroom. Not realising that the SVP does not like coffee shops, I actually suggested to walk to one, without realising some of the expressions on the other colleagues faces. Everything went downhill there, never had a chance to suggest lunch places with the SVP again during lunch hour. (Although we still had team lunch treats for a few times at some posh places. Lucky me!)
Anyway lots of other things to observe too and not going to spoil the fun for you. It’s a learning journey after all so we are all still learning! Try to spot things which you don’t usually notice when outside of work!
Rule #4: Always Speak to Your Colleagues
Some may be caught up with the mentality that spending your time churning away with the computer is the best way to manage workplace relationships and show that you are a hard worker. I do not agree. I personally believe that a large proportion of your time should be spent on aligning with colleagues, talking to them and knowing what is going on, and where the project you are working on fits into the bigger picture. As an intern or working adult, speaking to working colleagues with more working experience also gives you various perspectives on the working world and help with the big picture of things.
These are just my personal opinions and there are no set ways to succeed in management functions, Hope these rules I collated will get your started and propel you to further success in your career journey.
Still looking for an internship? This post may help!
Working from home during your internship? Here’s my work at work turned work from home internship experience!