Being a #BUILTBYGIRLS intern sure does have its perks. Not only do we get to have the amazing opportunity to work on the legit Cambio website (don't worry, we won't break it!), but we get to visit companies (just like the #BBG Ventures Interns <3) and meet incredibly powerful people, like the editor-in-chief of both Seventeen and Cosmopolitan.
Yeah, we got to meet Joanna Coles.
As soon as she walked into the conference room, everyone immediately went silent out of respect. She just had a way of commanding the room, without even saying a word. When she started to speak, you just knew that everyone was listening and taking notes intently. I filled three pages in my notebook with her wisdom - yes, wisdom - and here are seven of the best pieces of advice she bestowed upon us. #yourewelcome
1. Introduce Yourself With Your Last Name
I'm pretty sure that she said this at least 23 times in the hour that she talked to us. She emphasized how men are more easily able to introduce themselves in a professional manner with their last name, whereas women are more inclined to just give their first name when meeting someone for the first time. In fact, Joanna once got a card from an intern who was leaving Cosmo that was only signed with her first name, so Joanna had no clue whom it was from.
You need to ensure that you make an impression with whomever you meet, and the best way to do that is to tell people your full name, so they remember that they talked to "Caitlin Stanton, a #BUILTBYGIRLS intern," instead of just "a girl named Caitlin."
2. Meet the People Whom You're Working With
Even though your job is a job, that doesn't mean that you should isolate yourself from all of your working buddies. They want to help you in every way they can, whether it's pointing you to the correct conference room or getting you that interview at a bigger company. Set up 10-minute meetings with all of your new coworkers. Sit in on other meetings to get a feel for what everyone at the company does. Say hi to that person who stares awkwardly at you in the bathroom mirror. "Everyone has a story deep down," Joanna said. "And you should try to find it."
3. Keep a Journal of All Contact InformationOnce you've met everyone, it's ridiculously important to get their contact information. What happens if they leave the office and you want to ask them to return that sweater you leant them or if they know where that file is for that new project you were assigned? It's as simple as buying a cute journal to write down every email address and phone number you come across. It's the first step to building a network - all you need next is a LinkedIn. *wiggles eyebrows*
4. Keep Yourself in People's MindsDo you remember that best friend you had back in pre-school? That cool philosophical substitute teacher who would come to your class in fourth grade? The hamster you got when you were 9? No? Well that's because they didn't maintain contact with you! (Even hamsters need to keep people updated.)
Every time you start a new project, get a new position or just do something really cool, you should tell people about it. It's good to remind people that you aren't just sleeping in and watching Netflix all day (although you're probably doing that most of the time). Maybe someone will hear of a program or job position that they think fits you perfectly, all because you updated them about your accomplishments.
5. Balance Your Home and Work LifeThe key to a happy life is a balance between your life at home - whether that's having a family, taking care of your pet turtle or spending hours on the couch - and your life at work. The best way to accomplish this is to figure out what you want (easier said than done, especially coming from a person who spends at least 20 minutes trying to figure out which flavor of ice cream she wants for a snack). Figure out what kind of person you are, what kind of life you want to lead and what kind of environment you want to exist in.
I'm sorry if I gave you all existential crises. Take this moment to spend some time curled up in the fetal position, questioning the very nature of the universe. Done? OK, good. Just try to understand what you want. Easy peasy pumpkin peasy.
6. Look to LearnThe best part about any new job is that you end up spending most of your days in an environment where EVERYTHING is new to you: the layout of the building, when they give out free bagels, how to call people on the office phones. Not only that, but you're surrounded by people with different work styles, thought processes and opinions. You have the opportunity to see everything in a different way, and help to do the same for your coworkers. Ask questions. Make mistakes. Look for problems and come up ideas. Try to take all that your job or program can give to you and give back all you can.
7. EMBRACE CHANGELast, but most definitely not least, BE FLEXIBLE. One of the best things Joanna said to us interns was
My new life motto is another one of her phrases that should belong on a pillowcase: Default to yes. You're never going to become any better if you don't take a risk. Be open to opportunities that are presented to you, from going to PlayList Live entirely by yourself (it wasn't as bad as it sounds) to pursuing your dream career at another company. It's worse to look back and regret a choice you made, than to stumble in life through a bad decision. It's how we become "the new you - you 2.0, you 4.0."
"You will never stop feeling uncomfortable - that's what makes life interesting and how you find out what you're made of."
Now you are ready to tackle anything that comes at you. Take this bag of wisdom and run with it into the sunset! :D