Internships Create Win-Win Relationships
By Bernadette A. Moyer
My first intern was from Chicago and was attending Loyola University here in Maryland. She was wonderful! Bright-eyed and ready to serve and I could literally throw her into any workplace situation and she was great and handled it all like a pro.
Her course load was heavy but she always managed to find the time to volunteer. At the time I was working as a Special Events Manager many years ago and together my intern and I did everything from preparing the seating charts for a black tie gala to Sam’s Club runs for our school to work in house store.
Around this same time I lost my administrative assistant who was on leave for a few weeks and I was already overwhelmed with my busy schedule when I suggested to my boss the possibility of a “temp” a temporary employee he was supportive but with the caveat, “you will have to decide if having a temp is worth the time it will take you to manage them” and he was so right.
The temp was charging up hours and getting very little accomplished and here was my intern working for free and just tearing it up! Something was just not right with this picture. After a week of the temp, I let her go, ramped up my work schedule and encouraged my intern to give me all her available hours. She did and together we managed to not only make our goals but exceed them.
Charting her working hours for her Loyola University internship and writing her letter of recommendation was a small price to pay for all the work that she contributed. It was a win-win relationship. And if she was local I would have hired her in a second.
A Delaware Senator informed me that Washington D.C. engages approximately 20,000 interns each year. They are big believers in engaging interns and fully appreciate all their many contributions and also how it sets these same young people up for success.
In the past ten years I have engaged many interns to work alongside of me in nonprofit work. Most are students who are studying communications and public relations. I have witnessed them do everything from create a website to help with branding and creating new marketing materials. Each intern has left with a robust portfolio that they would otherwise not have had, and they made contributions that lasted long after their departures.
I do my best to keep up with all the interns that I have engaged, social media makes it fairly easy to do so. I marvel at how far they have gone and just how easily they tend to transition into a full–time regular paying job. I want to believe that part of their success harkens back to their ability to successful intern and also their willingness to work for free as they begin to pave their way along the professional corridor.
Internships create win-win relationships that not only enhance the workplace but add valuable work experience to people who are beginning their career. And quite honestly unlike the hired “temp” I have never engaged an intern that has not been worth their weight in gold.
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