What do you do, when you were handed a Grade 13 intern to help you out at work for a week?
Like everyone else, you could get them to do your dirty work, fill out forms, photocopy and run errands. After all, you’re doing them a favour by showing them a taste of the real world, right? One that is boring, mundane and worth escaping.
You could ask yourself some serious questions, like: How can I capitalize on her strength? What is it the kid knows, that I don’t know (more than I care to admit)? What can we do to derive a win-win situation, to create something that wows and experiences that actually lasts?
The answer was obvious. I put Cornelia to work right away on the very first day she joined us. Mission: to create a cooler, more efficient and functional Blog-site and to brainstorm strategies which includes the use of Facebook and Twitter to promote it.
Smooth sailing so far, as Cornelia was only too eager to get into tiny little details of all the self-taught instructions on different social media sites that I would normally drag to confront.
Along the way, I learned some valuable lessons from this young girl that even surprised myself:
- Take the Leap
- Cornelia could have stayed at home, relaxing through the week. Instead, she put her hand up, and pursued internship. Through some random phone calls by JIS’ Career Councilor, Ann Lord, we’re making magic happen.
- Smell the Flowers
- Even though the deliverables for her assignment were clear, Cornelia did not just do the clerical work of transferring contents from one place to another. Instead of pursuing the end results, she took the time to read through each of articles, digested them and questioned why?
- 80% of the things I shared with Cornelia came from the questions she raised from the Blog articles. It makes me wonder, how much have I missed all this while, while I was busy pursuing the goal without stopping the smell the flowers?
- Be Curious, Be Bold!
- Much of the answers to her queries seemed obvious to me, but in taking time to respond, I found more than a few fresh new insights that I would not otherwise have considered. For example, Cornelia asked why don’t we sponsor an event to promote the new Blog? Before I could eagerly dismiss her suggestions, I was reminded of the acclaimed German philosopher, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s famous line: “Boldness has genius, magic and power in it.” Perhaps the real answer to Cornelia’s question should have been: Why Not?
Just two days ago, I was relaying Cornelia’s story to a university professor on the value of having an intern. At the same time, I was also asking for her recommendations for good candidates to work for my company. The professor then asked about the caliber of students I was looking for. I uttered out some requisites, which I knew I was not completely satisfied with, at that time; I told her I needed someone who is bright, who is proactive and who is also creative.
Looking at Cornelia across the table, it suddenly occurred to me; what I really needed is a person who can solve my problems. Don’t we all wish that we could hire someone with a magic wand and make our problems go away? Gazing over again, I cannot help but imagine a bright future for this inquisitive problem solver waiting for her, as she steps into the ‘real-world’ in the years to come.