Independence


I can’t decide if it feels like I’ve been at my internship forever, or if it feels like I just started yesterday. In an odd way, I’d say it’s a little of both. I still feel so new, but I know so much more than I did five weeks ago. Things have changed for me a little bit, and I really like it.

One of the biggest changes is my level of responsibility. I don’t mean that in regards to how I’m acting, because obviously I’ve been acting responsible since I began here. No, what I mean is that they are placing much more responsibility on me, and even more so, they aren’t watching my every step and holding my hand anymore.

In the beginning my supervisor spent more time giving me tasks. But he kept teaching me to be independent and seek the tasks out for myself. Now I’m in charge of myself for the most part.

Like the other staff writers, I show up in the morning, check out the news, see what’s going on in the world and begin my work. If I have a story or something that I’m working on, I continue with that. If I get a tip on the tip-line, I look into it and see if it’s worth anything. If it is I following it a little bit to see where it goes, and after that, if it’s still worth something, I bring it to my supervisor’s attention and see what he has to say about it.

I would have had a heart attack if this was how things were when I first got here. I would have had no idea what I was doing, or what they wanted me to do. But I have to give a lot of credit to my supervisor for “showing me the ropes.” He worked hard in the first couple of weeks to ensure I was able to show up and do my job without needing him every step of the way.

I’m sure that was partially selfish on his behalf—he’s incredibly busy and doesn’t need a greenhorn yanking at his arm all day—but either way, it benefits both him and I.

I’ve considered doing some freelance work, so I know the independence I’m learning here will be a paramount education for my freelance abilities in the future.

Independence and dedication, the ability to be a self-starter and get the job done without constant supervision, is something that I know all our bosses want. Just having these internships is going to give us a leg up on other students, but within these internships we all need to make sure we’re working our hardest to learn everything and anything we can—with or without a constant guide.

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13 Responses to Independence

  1. Alysha Beck says:

    That’s great that you feel comfortable with more independence at your internship. I think it’s important to get good training at the start of any job or internship because that’s what lays the foundation and helps you successfully take on new responsibilities later. Good job being comfortable with setting your own tasks and planning your day without constant supervision. I think that’s definitely important for your first job out of college.

  2. agavette says:

    I can definitely relate to the weird sense of time. I also still feel new, but also feel very comfortable in my workplace. I can’t believe we’re already halfway through the term! Your supervisor seems like he really knows what he’s doing–it’s great that he set you up with all the necessary skills in the beginning, then let you take the reins, so to speak. It sounds like you’re getting some great benefits from that kind of on-the-job learning, and you’re going to be able to put those skills to use later on. I think it’s also good to note that not all supervisors are going to be like this–our future bosses may expect us to just jump right in to unfamiliar territory. At those times, you’re lucky to have had this experience to look back upon and remember those lessons in independence.

  3. michelletag says:

    Being an independent worker is very important. It says a lot about your time management and work ethic. Sometimes without guidance people can lose focus of what tasks need to be done. The supervision and mentoring you got in the beginning is great! In regards to how fast this term is going I understand that completely! It definitely sounds like you’re soaking up all the details while at your internship. And those things will come in handy for your future career.

  4. I don’t think creativity and great work ever truly occur when you’re being micromanaged. Naturally you need to learn the ropes, but it is good that you have proven yourself to the point that they don’t need hold your hand to know you’ll get the job done. I hope this new responsibility/freedom will breed better work. Especially since freelance is a direction you want to move towards, this sounds like the perfect place and opportunity to get your feet wet.

  5. Great post, Cody! The real work and true “magic” can’t happen if we’re constantly being micromanaged by our supervisors. We also can’t show our true potential if our hands continue to be held beyond the first few weeks. After all the question asking the first few weeks, I now feel kinda silly when I ask questions…kinda like the greenhorn yanking on my supervisor’s arm. I think freelancing would be a great idea and suit you well. Good to hear you’ve found your niche at your internship, keep kickin’ butt!

  6. asharonson says:

    You’re right! It feels like we started yesterday, yet been working forever. I agree, I have learned and done so much in the last five weeks, but I still feel like I am learning. It is an incredible feeling when you are finally managing yourself (at least partially). It sounds like you are doing great at your internship. Keep it up!

  7. Bree says:

    Great post! I feel the same. I can’t believe it’s already May (is it week 6?). I am also planning on doing freelance work in the future. This internship is a great opportunity to get a little taste of independence, but it’s a little overwhelming for me. I work from home so I know how hard it is to work independently, especially now that the weather is so nice! I’m glad you’re learning so much! Good luck with the rest of your internship!

  8. shannonsloan says:

    It sounds like things are going great at your internship! It’s great that your supervisor set you up for success, allowing you to gain independence and take responsibility of your tasks. It gave you the opportunity to prove yourself and it sounds like you are doing just that. Also, I agree that independence you are experience now will be helpful to you if you are considering freelance work. At my internship I work from home sometimes and while I enjoy being able to work in my robe, I’ve realized I much prefer working in the office. Keep up the great work!

  9. wilsonemily says:

    I’m glad that you’re able to handle more independent responsibility at your internship! It seems like you’re getting the grasp of things and know how to navigate your assignments and what to bring to your supervisor’s attention and what you know you can accomplish on your own. And as for the freelance work you’re considering, it’s great that you have this office background to guide you forward! Best of luck on the next few weeks of the term!

    Emily

  10. Allyson Will says:

    I think the time frame we are in for our internships is an odd amount of time. I often wish that our required internship time was longer than just one term. I feel the same as you in that I am just beginning to feel comfortable and independent at work. But wait, we only have a month left? It is hard to not feel discouraged considering we only have a small bit left. I hope that you are able to continue your independence until the very last hour of your internship! It will be hard but totally and completely worth it!

  11. pdxsx says:

    Good post, Cody! Glad to hear you are earning some more responsibility at your internship! That’s gonna be the ticket to bigger things!

    ~J

  12. shannonkluss says:

    I love that you pointed out “independence and dedication, the ability to be a self-starter and get the job done without constant supervision, is something that I know all our bosses want.” Those resume buzzwords are things that I used to roll my eyes at when I saw them as a ‘desired skill’ on a job description – but our internships have definitely pointed out that they are not only a necessity for this industry, but also things that we must consciously demonstrate to our supervisors and peers.

  13. rkaapu says:

    Cody,
    This sounds wonderful. The relief that you get when your employer sends you off on your own is wonderful. In my opinion, that is one of the greatest achievements people can earn when starting at a new job. It is an indication that your boss can trust you and doesn’t think you are a total stranger. It seems that you have really found your niche in the company and that’s a wonderful place to be considering graduation is creeping up on us.

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