As we entered into a meeting yesterday at my internship, I was expecting the usual discussion of assignments and strategy that often takes place in our group sessions.
I was wrong.
As we sat in the meeting room, we covered a flurry of random topics ranging from shopping carts to introverts, and great books we’ve read. I used to participate in these conversations simply because I found them fun, but over my weeks at this internship I’ve learned to use the tangents we go on in meetings for much more. Even if we are not talking directly about work, I am getting to pick the brain of exponentially more experienced professionals through casual conversation, and after yesterday’s discussion I can see how that could be incredibly useful.
If you don’t believe me, listen to this coincidence: after work, I was looking up a PR firm that I am interested in, and there was a section in which each of the employees answered questions about themselves. One of the leaders of the company named the book my boss had recommended to me as the last great book they’d read!
There is more than just job-related work involved in being successful, and these talks allow me to figure out what else my superiors have done and are doing in order to get where they are. As interns in the infancy of our careers, learning things like the books people that might be hiring us read and the day-to-day behaviors that they notice in others could make a huge difference one day in whether we get that dream job or competitive promotion.
So take the time to just talk with the people around you in your internship. You could learn lessons from your mentors that they don’t even intend to teach! Keep it appropriate and don’t let it hinder productivity, and you could get great advice.