Let’s break this down, shall we?
Erin Davis [that’s me], intern ingenue [newbie], muses on the material metamorphoses [figures out what’s changed], in transitioning from her now-erstwhile life as an unemployed deviant [from being a college graduate] to her new 9-5 lifestyle [to participating in this great opportunity with COLABORATORY].
Setting aside this exercise in verbosity and allusion, let’s get to the meat of the matter. Three weeks and two agencies into the COLAB experience has given me a good perspective on office culture. Here are some lessons I’ve learned when it comes to office life:
Acronyms are everywhere. Working people love to shorten phrases into a few letters. It’s a way to show you’re down with industry jargon. The first few days of this internship, I just nodded along when someone used an obscure acronym, and made a mental note to look it up later. To keep you from wondering, “WTF?”, here are some basics:
- ROI : return on investment. Make sure you’re spending money to make money.
- QA: quality assurance. Make sure you’re earning your money by doing things right.
- OOO: out of office. Someone’s lucky day!
- CEO/CFO/CMO/COO: chief ______ officer. Pay attention because this person is important.
Basically, whenever you can’t just intuit it, google has all the answers.
People love to “leverage” everything. Prior to starting this internship, my understanding of the word “leverage” was as the action of a lever – something to do with car jacks or something, I’m not very mechanical. In the world of business, it means to take something you’ve done and make it work for more than one purpose, so as to “gain a very high return in relation to one’s investment”. This definition courtesy of dictionary.com
Multitasking is the name of the game.* This observation goes in tandem with the leverage thing. Being productive means making the most out of your time. The people at my agencies are always juggling a few projects at once, and being able to tune your brain into working on two or more problems at once makes you an asset.
*additional note: this applies double to your commute time. If you can ride the MAX or the bus, you’ll be able to read, listen to music or just relax/catch up on zzz’s. Much better than getting road rage-related high blood pressure as a result of driving in rush hour traffic. I highly recommend listening to RadioLab podcasts to get your mind properly percolating.
And finally a note for all you interns out there:
Just because the coffee/soda/beer is free, it doesn’t mean you have to consume it in copious amounts. This is a lesson I’ve had to learn the hard way after a day of practically chugging coffee. I wound up with more than the jitters- they were more akin to full-body spasms. On the plus side, involuntarily staying up until 2 AM really gave me a lot of time to get work done (or watch episodes of Doogie Howser, MD on hulu.com).
That’s about all the lessons I can eek out at the moment. If you’re a newbie currently trying to masquerade as a biz pro, I hope you are able to use these tips. Just remember that no one expects you to know everything. Fake it ‘till you make it.