In our short time as interns, we had the unique opportunity to observe IWCO Direct from an outsider perspective for the first couple of weeks… then, just like that, we were completely integrated into the awesome worlds of our departments. We are lucky to leave feeling like a part of the company, and as with every job, there are things we loved and things we loved to complain about.
As our internships came to an end, I asked 15 of my fellow interns the question, “What are a couple of reasons you loved coming to work?” Here are just a few of the things we loved:
1. The people
Every single response I got began with some variation of the phrase, “I love the people I work with.” Even from an intern’s perspective, it was incredible to see every one of my colleagues answer this question the same way.
Walking into an office or job with a group of people who have great energy and work ethic makes a difference in productivity and the company culture. Feeling like you can connect and communicate with the people around you makes the job that much better. It’s invaluable to have good mentors and leaders for interns to learn the ropes from—when supervisors and managers are passionate about what they do, their energy is contagious.
2. Getting paid
Okay, everyone can chuckle at this this one, but this answer showed up more than once in the intern responses. Employers need to understand how incredible it is for students to work for experience and for money. These summer months are when a majority of students earn the money they need to fund the upcoming school year. Many students aren’t in a financial position that allows them to take on an unpaid internship, no matter how valuable the opportunity. Being able to take advantage of every opportunity without having to worry about earning money for school is a powerful thing.
IWCO Direct management understands that compensation is a huge incentive for interns to push themselves at work. They recognize that intern work has value and expect interns to put in the effort to earn their paychecks. Adding a dollar amount to our hours spent at work puts a value to our contributions and affords us the opportunity to take on a summer internship.
3. The culture
There’s no way to know if you’re going to love the place you work until you actually spend a couple days there. Claire Schmitt, Business Service intern, appreciated her experience because it was a “great opportunity to see if the business and office lifestyle works for me.” The combination of being able to jump up and ask someone for coding help, talk through a design concept, or listen to Phil Collins’ Tarzan soundtrack (for the times when it was “the only thing that can get us through this day”) is influential. Having the ability to go from an independent project to a group collaboration is something young professionals should dabble in to understand what type of setting they want to be in for the future.
During our summer 2018 IWCO Direct internships, there was a true sense of camaraderie in the office and usually a fun perk or event to break up the work week. We enjoyed an intern breakfast, training sessions, planning Charitable Giving events, and an end-of-summer cruise. This might not be something we’ll get to experience at future jobs, but it definitely put some fun back in a summer that we feared might be mostly coffee runs and paperwork.
No summer experience is perfect, so to be fair, here are a few things we loved to complain about:
- Realizing we made a typo in a company-wide email
- The commute (some more than others—hang in there, intern Becky!)
- The speakers going out during a Tarzan soundtrack jam-session
In all seriousness, since the biggest grievance I heard was, “I won’t miss the extreme swings from hot to cold in the office,” I feel like everyone had a pretty great summer intern experience. Check back later this week, when we’ll say goodbye to the summer 2018 interns with a look back at how we left our mark on IWCO Direct.
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