Proverbs 18:17 The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.
This is a lesson for those of you, like me, that are just starting out your career, beginning internships for it, or are honestly just anxious about the entire process. There are valuable tips to learn from this meeting, and ones not to learn. I recommend for those reading to get out a notepad, maybe some coffee, and to take in some important lessons that I have. Although this doesn’t show all the advice that you need to hear, I hope that you get at least one piece that you can take with you on your way to improving in your position.
I sat down and had a meeting with my boss yesterday. Sounds scary right? It’s never fun when your boss tells you “I have to speak with you”, then proceeds to close the conference room door and sit down across from you, looking very serious. I was so nervous. I just began this internship about four weeks ago, and I could not afford to get fired from it. I loved what I was doing, the only problem was I wasn’t doing it as well as I ought to have been. Nevertheless, I sat down, tried my best to stay calm with my hands fidgeting underneath the hard oak conference room table, and got ready for the “conversation.”
It began slowly, and the air seemed to suddenly decline whilst suffocating me, as I lifted my arms on top of the table. She said that she wanted to talk about my performance. That was it, I was done for. Talking about “performance” is a talk you have when someone is failing, a student isn’t going to pass a class, or a player is let go from the team. I just knew this was going to be bad. I tried not to cry.
My boss leaned into the table, looked directly at me, and began asking questions. “Why do you want to do an internship?” “Why do you want this specific one?” “What have you learned during this internship?” Which areas do you think you need to strengthen yourself in this internship?” I wish I had all the answers but my anxiety mixed with fear locked me up. However, I was as honest as I could be. I told her that I love writing, and I love doing the work for this internship, yet I am new to the business side of the industry. They don’t exactly teach business sense in a writing course. There was a lot I needed to learn, and I’ve been slower when it comes to taking control of my own learning and success. It is scary to walk into a professional publishing establishment as a college student who just recently changed her major to English.
I stayed quiet, and waited for her response while she stayed still in her swivel chair. My boss looked at me with kindness in her eyes and told me her observations. She knew that I was new at this, but she wanted to see consistency and excellence from me. Instead of doubting myself over what I didn't know, I needed to try doing great in what I did know. She reminded me that I am learning, and that's okay. We talked about the true meaning of humility. To her, humility begins with curiosity. It begins with wanting to know more about the company and the position, and asking questions. I nodded my head and sat for a second. I didn’t have much to say and believed that it was not the right moment to talk. I was embarrassed and surprised. I hadn’t asked many questions about the company in my interview, or even during the four weeks that I had been in the internship! All that I had known about a humble heart was misplaced.
We then discussed how having a consistent attitude and appearance will result in consistent work. This leads into self-care. She emphasized the importance of going to sleep at the same time every night during the week and making sure to keep a clean work environment to not get distracted during the day. When it came to the end of the meeting, I apologized for my lack of respect and consistency in my position. I got so scared to mess up, that I tried to be the perfect employee who knew everything. When it came down to it though, thinking this way cost me the ability to know and understand more. My boss was not punishing me for these things, she was simply telling me because I was unaware of them.
My advice to those of you who are young professionals, or students, is to have an open mind and heart when taking any position. Ask questions, listen to what your boss is telling you to do and do it, and lastly don’t be afraid to mess up and learn from those mistakes. My verse for you is one that I’ve clung to for many seasons of my life. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future”. Trust in the plans the Lord has for your life, and cling to His promise that although you may endure hardships and suffering, He has a purpose within all of it.
If you would like to learn more about Sarah and other professionals’ journeys, along with tips for success as a young person in the workplace, purchase a copy of our book, From Illusion to Reality or download the author’s top ten tips for FREE and follow us on our Instagram https://www.instagram.com/illusion2realitybook/ !
Contributor: Alexis Anderson is an intern as a brand development managing editor at TSE Worldwide Press. She is a senior at Biola University, studying English with an emphasis in writing, along with a minor in Biblical Studies. Alexis aims to inspire others through her words and character.