© 2017 herpersj Envelopes

Pieces of the Puzzle: Advantages of Interning in a Great Work Environment

Interns are often depicted as anonymous faces within a company who vanish after a few months of work without having developed a connection with employees. The first few images that come up after googling “intern” were just name tags that said “Hello, my name is ‘Intern.’


Hello, my name is “Intern”

When I began searching for internships, one of my initial fears was that I would just be the nameless “intern” stuck with some menial chores over the summer. Once I was lucky enough to be accepted as an intern at Facing History and Ourselves, I learned a little bit more the organization and its internship program (the fact that it had actually taken the time to develop an internship program was already a good sign). However, I had no way of really knowing what I could expect in terms of how I would fit in as a temporary intern.

From day one, I began to learn about the importance of community within the work-place. All the interns were introduced to each employee present in the building which gave me a great taste of the organization’s mentality regarding how it fostered a successful work environment. Rather than just introducing me to the individuals that I would directly be working with, I was presented to the entire community and was taught the roles of each employee within the company.

As I grew acclimated to my new work place I began to notice how each department within the organization simultaneously worked on specific tasks while also working with across departments to ensure the success of the organization. I observed examples of conversations between members of FHAO such as members of the social media team and the content team, or members of the development team and the Jewish education team. The collaboration between individuals on various teams stood out as a great example of interdisciplinary thinking outside of an academic setting. Employees were excited to share details of their different projects with one another and how it fit inside the framework of FHAO. Such rapport noticeably strengthened communication, teamwork, and creativity among members of the organization.

Perhaps my favorite example of this rapport came during my first week as an intern, where I was invited to the going-away party of an employee who was moving on to a new career. While I sat down enjoying the ice cream that accompanied the event, I was moved to see many of the employee’s peers stand up and share the memories that they had accumulated with the employee over the years. Further, they each clearly expressed their appreciation for the employee’s contributions to the organization. The fact that so many employees from diverse departments within the organization could articulate how the departing employee fit into FHAO really demonstrated the strength of the community.

For those first few weeks, although I was observing fantastic examples of a productive and healthy work environment, I still struggled with how my role as an intern contributed to the community. However, as I’ve gotten deeper into my projects and begun discussing with employees other than my supervisors, I’m slowly but steadily understanding how my work adds to FHAO and facilitates the tasks of other departments. It’s a great feeling to know that although you’re technically a temporary piece to a larger puzzle, your work and character has lasting value to the organization’s success.


Me taking a break from projects to stuff envelopes with employees

Photo Sources: “Hello, My Name is Intern:” http://www.deepseanews.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/6360482837900300351044625281_intern.jpg



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