Around our office, we know that summertime’s upon us when we hear the cacophony of flip-flops whapping down the hall, or maybe see a little extra beer in the fridge. But the truest sign that it’s summer again is the arrival of a fresh crop of interns with their youthful exuberance in tow.
Interns hold a special place in my heart. I remember my own internship experience with much fondness. I worked for McCann-Erickson in Atlanta. I made 5 bucks an hour. I wore my mom’s suits. I giggled a lot. My nickname was “perky little intern.”
I did the usual intern things like making copies and taking notes at client meetings. I went to a few recording sessions and photo shoots, nothing stellar or mind-blowing. But for a 20-year-old kid from the suburbs, everything was exciting to me. The funky art directors and writers with weird clothes and long hair, the intimidating account supervisors in the corner offices, and the buttoned-up clients who always seemed to let their hair down a little when visiting the Agency.
My mentor that summer could clearly see that I was an inept kid who didn’t know an X-acto knife from a design marker. But he didn’t mind. I could ask all the dumb questions I wanted. (And boy, did I.) My brief summer at the agency created in me a passion for this business that has never gone away.
Now that I have several years under my belt, and have become a little more jaded and a lot less perky, I see that interns can teach us much more than we can sometimes teach them. Not only can they offer us entrée to a younger generation, or provide a little levity to an otherwise bland workday, they can also point a spotlight on how we are conducting business.
When an intern asks a simple question it forces us to look inside ourselves and evaluate “how we’ve always done it.” This continual self-evaluation helps us keep up with the constant evolution of advertising. And a willingness to approach client service with the humility of an amateur can ultimately turn us into experts in our clients’ business. So to all the perky summer interns everywhere, I thank YOU for teaching us grown-ups a thing or two.