Being a Team Player in the Professional World

All throughout our schooling experience, we were put through the dreaded group work situations. Completing projects or assignments with a group of students brought with it headache and stress that independent work did not. Through grade school, high school and college, working in a team environment was less than desirable.

Group of Multiethnic People Studying About Teamwork

Photo courtesy of The Odyssey Online

And, not so surprisingly, these group work situations don’t end in the professional world. Especially in the PR or advertising industries. However, in the professional world, not only do you complete certain projects in teams, but you work every day along side multiple people who you can accurately describe as your teammates. And I’m here to tell you, it’s so much better than those dreaded group assignments were in school.

Being on a team in the professional world means getting to work with people whose strengths can contribute leaps and bounds to projects in areas you may not be so strong in. Per my experience so far, in the professional world every person on your team is as dedicated as you to make the work you’re producing the best it can be, and it can take a lot of pressure off of you as an individual to be the person solely responsible for its success. Most importantly, these team environments give you a chance to continue learning outside of the classroom you’ve been stuck in for the last 16-ish years, from people who have tons of real life experience in your field.

Although these new team environments can add so much to your professional life, the transition into being a great team player in an already-established team can be difficult. So it’s important to keep these things in mind:

Consider and acknowledge all of your teammates’ points of view.

Sometimes it’s difficult to see things from many different perspectives, but doing your best to see where your teammates are coming from will only further the project you are working on. Listen when they give input or ideas, and do your best to consider them fully before moving forward with your suggestions.

Do your part and do it well.

Because you’re new to the team, your part of the project may not be the most important. But, the focus and attention you give to it will show the team what you are capable of, and that you are dedicated to the organization’s goal as a whole.

Understand you have a lot to learn from the people on your team.

Many of us coming out of college were used to being near the top of the chain in school. Many of us served as account supervisors or project managers at student run firms or organizations. However, in the professional world, you are no longer the expert and it is important to keep that in mind and take in what your teammates are doing or saying so that you can grow as a professional.

Jasmine Arant


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Learning How To Learn Again


As I left the the comforts of the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon for an internship in Portland, I entered into a whole new world of information.

This came as a surprise to me, for I thought my education was behind me. At my internship I was thrown into the deep end of office life. No, not like The Office, much different, much more serious. I was shocked as to how things changed around me when I was in an office setting. E-mail became the new texting and my desk doubled as a lunch table.

Learning these types of things can really make or break how you enter the work place. Don’t worry though, there are a couple tips that will help you learn the office language on they fly.

  1. Watch how your co-workers interact with each other. If they send E-mails about sending an E-mail. Chances are, you shouldn’t go and ask too many questions in person. Instead sum up your questions in an E-mail and send it to your co-worker.
  2. Be vigilant about using your phone at work. If your co-workers use their phones openly but not constantly, it is probably alright to check your messages a time or two during the day. Obviously, use your best judgement in any situation.
  3. Lastly, be sure to engage with your co-workers. If there is a chance to get to know them while not being in a professional setting, take advantage. These people are the ones who will be writing you letters of recommendation soon or referring you to someone about employment elsewhere. Take the opportunity to learn something about them and create a lasting relationships.

So to wrap up, it will always come down to a case by case basis, for which you should use your best judgement. Just keep in mind to use the preferred method of communication, be aware of your personal distractions and have a conversation with your co-workers. They were new once too.

Chris Ouverson

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Transitioning to Adulthood

My first couple weeks of working and living in Portland have been nothing I expected, but everything I’ve wanted. However, I’ve learned quickly that there are many lessons you should know to maneuver the adulthood sphere that we were never taught in school.


Source: INKCINCT Cartoons

The first obstacle I’ve run into is adjusting to a different time frame. Employers aren’t as flexible as your professors were with taking time off.

In addition, your job is likely going to take up your day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., which leaves you little room to do what you really want to. Time management is a critical issue you should be prepared for, in a way that you didn’t need to be in school. The stakes are higher; too many days off or late arrivals could lead you to lose your job.

Consequently, it becomes imperative to be conscientious of how you spend your free time. Old habits, like Netflix binging and partying every night, don’t work as well in the real world as they did in college. You might dread the notion of growing older, but feeling good each morning when you wake up at 7 a.m. takes priority. Stay in tune with your body and what you really need to center yourself.

Reading, meditating, even cleaning can prove to be your best relaxants after a hectic week. It’s important to remain hyper aware of your stress levels and needs so that you don’t burn yourself out. Unfortunately, in the adult world, you don’t get to take as many mental health days off, so it’s critical to implement these practices into your routine.

As intimidating as that sounds, I’ve found that maneuvering the adult world isn’t as scary as we might anticipate. We’ve been privileged by our extensive education to be prepared with the skills to tackle all different types of challenges and opportunities. They’re just disguised as job applications instead of homework assignments.

By applying your organizational and critical thinking skills, you can prepare yourself for the obstacles ahead.

Claire Johnson

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Tips for Introverted Interns

Introverts can often face challenges in the workplace. The professional world puts a lot of stock in extroverted qualities in order to get ahead. Recent works, however, have outlined the many valuable assets introverts bring to the table in a professional environment.

As an intern and an introvert, I have been working hard to overcome some challenges I face due to my introverted personality. I have compiled some tips and tricks for introverts to make the most of the little time they have in an internship and to feel more fulfilled in their experience.

1). Don’t compare – I have often watched a classmate or a colleague and wished I were as well-spoken, outgoing or active as they were. When I became an intern, however, I discovered I didn’t have the time to waste wishing I could be more extroverted. Internships only last a short time, so don’t waste this valuable opportunity struggling with feelings of insecurity that come from comparing yourself to others.

2). Don’t be afraid to write before you speak – Introverts tend to be extremely thoughtful. It can be difficult for us to articulate our thoughts out loud, however. I have often avoided making phone calls in the office because I was worried I would become tongue-tied. To solve this, I began writing small scripts before important phone calls that I could peek at if I get nervous or tripped-up.

3). Seek out one-on-one conversation – Introverts may not stand out well in large meetings, but we can make a big impression in more personal settings. Be sure to invite coworkers out for coffee or drinks after work in order to get some one-on-one time with them to make a lasting impression and to build your network.

4). Know Your Strengths – Introverts have a lot to offer in the workplace. We are incredible listeners, we offer well-thought-out and meaningful ideas, and we also tend to make lasting and more meaningful professional relationships.

Emalee Russell

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The Organizational Learning Curve

From the first day of my internship, my new work inbox was inundated with emails containing everything from due dates to meetings to client projects. I welcomed this wealth of new material, eager to jump right in and get up-to-speed on everything I would be working on. I was so fixated on the information that I started to lose track of how I was organizing it all.

I am an organized and focused person, and I consider myself a good multitasker. But as someone who is new to this type of work and office environment, I suddenly felt like I was trying to keep track of a million little things all at once. I found myself waiting—nervously—for one of those little things to slip through the cracks, get forgotten, and become a big problem.

I’m sorry to say that moment did eventually come—but I’m happy it did. It forced me to take stock of how I was organizing and what I could do to better. Here are some of the things I’m figuring out along the way:

Learn what works for them

Take note of how the people you work with prefer to communicate and organize. This is tricky as it may vary from person to person and even between different tasks. Does your supervisor prefer a formal email or a quick Slack message? Do they want you to schedule a meeting with them on their Outlook calendar or just swing by their desk to discuss something? Being aware of these nuances can help streamline communication and allow you to be more effective in daily back-and-forth with your bosses and coworkers.

Learn what works for you


Source: The Minimalist Planner

Call it old school, but my preferred way to stay organized will always be analog. I think very spatially, so having a physical planner that allows me to see all the tasks I have for a given week is helpful to me. I also like the act of writing things down—it’s an exercise that helps me remember things. So much of workplace communication is digital, and at first I tried to change my style to fit that. After a couple weeks of trial-and-error, I’m now sticking to the organizational method that works best for me.


Kenzie Yoshimura

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Life Not Being #Flawless Is OK

I have never been the “go with the flow”, “let it roll off your back” type of person. I am a do-er, a planner and, admittedly, a brown-nosing overachiever type. All of this adds up to one fact: I have not yet learned let my mistakes go, even the small ones.

During the first month or so at my internship, I chalked my mistakes up to the fact that I was new and I simply did not have the experience required to be perfect at my job despite the nagging thoughts in the back of my mind that said I should be executing my work perfectly anyway. Even now, I internally cringe when I get an email back saying that my work was not #flawless every time.


Unlike Beyonce, I’m not #FLAWLESS

And it is not just work – I do not want to make the wrong life choices either (really, who does?) like where to live or what to do with free time. No matter how many times someone tells me that it is ok to make mistakes or that mistakes could even be good, I remain skeptical because not making mistakes just sounds so much more appealing.

The truth is that whether we take one job or another, whether we stay close to home or strike out to find a new adventure in a new city or whether we spend our free time partying with friends or in bed watching Netflix, there will almost certainly be things we wished we had done differently. The key is to give yourself a break every once in a while because even though some may say it is time for us to start “adulting”, we still have quite a few years left to make mistakes that will eventually make us who we are. Even if we do not want to.

Mack Smith 

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Be Their Friend

My last piece of advice to any new intern is to simply be a friend to the people you work with.Whether you report to a team, a supervisor or a different person every week- the best way to understand the company is to understand the people working there and helping them understand you.


Maybe not this friendly

While you may not get along with every person the same, there is a level of respect you gain for a person when you know more than just what they eat for lunch everyday. You’ll find that some are more open to side chatter throughout the day or ‘punny’ emails in their inbox. You’ll also find the guy with the headphones that still looks at you with the “can you be quiet” face even when he has music playing in his ears. Although you are in a temporary role as an intern, don’t discredit your personality in the work place. This is what creates that office culture.

A few simple ways to ‘be a friend’ inside the office:

  • Throw out the idea to do something out of the ordinary one day a week to learn what your colleagues are interested in (like a favorite t-shirt contest)
  • Ask for suggestions of places to go around the city- you may learn that your boss is actually part of a running club that tries a new pub every Tuesday (true story)
  • Tag along with someone to grab lunch (they’ll most likely pay since you’re poor)
  • Offer to play some tunes or ask what they are always jamming out to with their headphones plugged in (ask that one guy with the headphones always in)

I came from an office of all women, champagne at lunch, and Chris Brown Pandora station playing Monday-Friday to an almost silent office of middle-aged men with a fridge full of expired sauces and La Croix (sparkling water). While these experiences are extremely different, they are both enjoyable and memorable- because of the friends I’ve made of the day one colleagues.


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