Chapter ELEVEN: Goodbiary of an Intern
It’s often said that those who encounter the most difficulty in getting words onto a page and bringing their thoughts together are, indeed, writers themselves. Admittedly, I’ve been staring blankly at this Microsoft Word document, fixated upon the flashing cursor for what’s felt like an eternity. Had it not been for an email notification, chances are I’d still be entranced by that little flashing line, taunting me in my state of terminal writer’s block.
Ladies and gentlemen, to say it’s been a privilege having heard everyone’s feedback, constructive criticism and unmitigated support over the past three months would be the most monumental of all understatements. I’ve been blessed to work alongside a cohort of interns who’ve never ceased to have my back and extend a gesture of selflessness. Through some seemingly pitiful attempts at navigating PhotoShop, I was able to introduce you to them (Shae, Becky and Regie) beginning nearly 70 days ago.
The ability to share my studies in brand recognition, elevator pitches and delving into the art of entrepreneurship has been not only humbling, but something I vow not to take for granted either. Whether you’re a school teacher, a hostess at Cracker Barrel or even a high schooler who still struggles to put a shoe on the right foot, these lessons are universal. Where you are now, who you consider yourself to be and whatever occupation you may possess do not shield you from the reality that without a keen sense of business, you’ll never truly grasp how the world goes ’round.
All of these things in mind, I never truly unmasked myself and allowed you all to gauge the type of work you’ve been reading, without having first understood the man behind the keyboard.
Those at do it outdoors media view me as a fairly extroverted guy, working diligently on my projects and chiming in to make small talk when the opportunity presents itself. My pursuit of a Corporate Innovation/Entrepreneurship and Spanish double major at Penn State University parallels with the work I’ve been assigned over the past several months of my internship. Aside from these blogs, I’ve been responsible for an “Intern Inspiration Series” which catalogues motivational happenings (via photographs) throughout the office over the course of the summer. I’ve dealt with industry directories, search engine optimization, the development of a new brand’s business plan, a specialty mobile billboard build-out, weekly tweet sheet installments < *catches breath > a corporate Snapchat proposal, folding t-shirts and reorganizing the supply warehouse. In what little free time I’ve scavenged, I’ve been putting on the final touches to my first novel. It’s safe to say I’ve been one busy bee.
You see, I’ve never found myself in a professional work environment prior to my first day here on May 16. By no means has this experience been a walk in the park for me. I’ve learned more about myself, where I aspire to go and about what constitutes as a healthy frame of mind than what I could possibly express in a handful of these blog entries.
I’d be remorseful if I didn’t note perhaps my favorite lesson of all. As a writer, a poet and an advocate for any and all things literature, I’ve been confronted with the actuality that business writing and creatively writing fiction are two entirely separate entities. I came into this Diary of an Intern saga with my chest puffed out, ready to crack a few pathetic jokes, maybe add a swear word or two (just to keep it edgy) and desperately appeal to anyone willing to read my blog.
Soon thereafter I was struck with the realization that clients, potential hires and colleagues alike were the ones most commonly scrolling down my work. I needed to adapt this blog to my audience, tailoring my sentences to the professionals I was reaching. After nearly three months, I believe I’ve reached the point we all refer to as a “happy medium.”
Writing needs character. It needs to be profound, appropriate and filled with enough pork to hold a reader in for as long as possible. You can’t expect someone to sacrifice time out of their own schedule to read some disingenuous, obligational blurb that you really couldn’t have cared less about putting together.
So just maybe I have learned a little about what it takes to create quality content for marketing purposes. A lesson my marketing manager was so eager for me to grasp.
Now, I challenge you to allow yourself to rise to whatever occasion may be calling you. I ask that you relinquish your death grip on your comfort zone and embrace the belief that reaching for a new, unforeseen feat is actually a good thing. The more you write, becoming a well-versed human being is inevitable. Don’t write to the script. Stay true to your personality, but keep that of your readers in mind also. Demand happy endings.
I’d like to thank do it outdoors for the opportunity I was given this summer, especially Regis Maher for his years of unconditional support and Emily Fritz for her patience and guidance. And to you, my whopping ten weekly readers, it’s truly been a pleasure.