Intern to Employee: Making the Transition

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Hello readers, my name is Christian Romer.

I am an International employee of AgencyNet from Freeport, Grand Bahama, Bahamas. As I finish my first year of employment at AgencyNet, I find myself reflecting on the personal and professional transformation I have experienced: the transition from intern (previously a student of The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale) to an employee.  My transformation has required me to go through a sort of “professional metamorphosis”.

Looking back at my first unsure and timid stroll through the doors of AgencyNet, I’ve realized that there we’re certain key lessons that I had to grasp before I could consider myself a true AgencyNetter.

Organization

My first point of reflection is probably one of the most important: organization.  An agency is like a well oiled machine, it requires a certain level of structure and care to operate smoothly.

Everything you do, every document you pass on will at some point end up in the hands of a coworker, whether the same day, or months from creation. That person will need to be able to understand your thought process, the steps you took, and what the next steps are.  How quickly and accurately they can accomplish that is key for any project’s success.  As such, how you structure your work will influence the work pace of the entire office. To be frank, this was one of my personal downfalls but as time passed I’ve begun to implement a more standardized approach to how I organize myself. But, as with most things, there is always room for improvement.

Take Initiative

An employee that thinks ahead is considered extremely valuable and is much desired by any employer.  Taking any extra measure to ensure a task is completed efficiently, effectively, and professionally can help your work process to run smoother and also help your colleagues to transition and translate your work to the other necessary phases with ease.  I have observed many of my colleagues practice this and as a result they sometimes even stumble upon new skill sets, and avoid having to execute other time-consuming steps towards completing a successful project. Strive beyond what is expected of you and you might reveal positive, unexpected results.

Listen, Absorb, Observe

This mode of thinking can make or break you. As a newbie you must become a “human sponge”.

Listen to every piece of constructive advice that comes your way. The advice is usually offered from experience and will help you to avoid making critical mistakes without learning the hard way.

Absorb all that you experience, see, and do on a daily basis. Every day, even the really bad days will yield experience in some form, whether directly, or indirectly. Take notes of critical experiences often and analyze them when the time becomes available (personal time).

Observe all interactions, situations, and techniques that your peers display on a daily basis. You WILL find these observations will help you to improve your effectiveness, skill set, and the rate at which you develop your talents. Over all, shut-up and listen!

Fail?

Yes, I know….fail?  Yes fail. It is the only way you truly learn just about anything.  The greatest developers, designers, directors, and others can all testify to the effectiveness of constructive, incremental failure.  Every mistake you make big or small is an opportunity for you to analyze the wrong steps you took, and it allows you to construct alternate, more efficient methods of completing a particular task. Failure only becomes truly negative when you do not gain knowledge as a result of failure.

Be Resilient

You will have bad days. Days when you want to send your PC or Mac on a “maiden test flight off of the third floor…” In the web/multimedia industry, the competition is becoming more and more intense on a daily basis. Only the strong will survive. Every time that you are knocked down you must get back up immediately and continue producing consistent quality work. Do not become discouraged often. It will prove to be detrimental to your drive and success rate.

Challenge yourself daily

Often we find ourselves clinging to our comfort zones. This will inevitably stunt your professional development in the long run. Without pushing your limits your work will become both repetitive and stale. Be motivated to attack tasks and situations from alternate perspectives. You may reveal unknown skills and talents that you never knew you possessed as a result.

Evaluate

Everyone, no matter your position within any given company/agency, should take time to evaluate their own progress or lack thereof, before someone else does. Constructive criticism is useless unless you have the ability to realize and accept your flaws within yourself. When you achieve this state of “self realization” you become a “self running improvement machine”.

I find myself at the edge of the most amazing year of my life. Thankful to be given the opportunity to work in an environment that has a plethora of creativity, comradery, experience, and genuine happiness.  I realize that no matter how far I take my skills I must always strive towards growth and change both for myself and my company.