Here is the second installment of our intern series, this time from Kaitlyn. The three of us take really great pictures too — this was me sitting on our Yoga ball and falling. Laura saved my life. Thanks Laura!
My First Week at AccuConference
I felt like the phone interview was going well. I always love phone interviews. I was in my pj’s, I was sprawled out on my bed, and I was getting decent responses from my answers. No suits, no awkward longer-than-ten-seconds-straight eye contact, no sweaty handshakes; what could be better? And then I was blindsided. It hit me like a sack of bricks. The question you never want to hear in an interview, “So what is the other company you interviewed with that you’re waiting to hear back from?” Silence. I was definitely not prepared for that.
After I sputtered out the answer to the question, I sat there speechless. Without knowing what else to do, I chuckled nervously and referenced my still being new to this whole internship scene and said that I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do during the summer. After a few more moments of conversation, the phone call was over and I laid back on my bed thinking. I just told David Byrd, the VP of Operations at AccuConference, my potential employer, my potential boss, that I was waiting to hear back from another company. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Rookie mistake. I should have pounced on that internship. I weighed my options:
Option #1- go through my second phone interview with the other company, which I may or may not receive an offer from, which I may or may not like.
Option #2- accept the internship with AccuConference, risk being the object of all the office snickers because of my rookie mistake, and forgo any chance of internship with the other company.
Option #3- pack up and move to some remote country where they don’t even know what the word “internship” means.
After much deliberation, I chose Option #3…
Just kidding. I chose #2.
Day One. My first day of work at AccuConference. Considering my…interesting phone conversation with Byrd, I was, needless to say, a bit nervous. It probably didn’t help my nerves that I just kept circling the Bank of America building trying to find where the heck this place was located. After a quick phone call to the office, I discovered they were located inside the exact building that I had been circling. Wow, Kaitlyn, really? As I waited for the elevator, the images were piling up in my head. A huge office with divided cubicles, phones ringing off the hook, glaring fluorescent lights, typical water cooler in the corner, multiple hallways with confusing turns, and horrible bosses riding my case asking, “Did you get that memo?” I took a deep breath as I turned the handle on the door to the office.
I’m standing in a single, open room. There are cubicles, but not small confining ones. Home décor lamps on each desk to light the room in a comforting manner. No water cooler. From what I can see, there’s just one hallway disappearing around a corner to the breakroom. No stiff-suited horrible bosses in sight. “Hi, Kaitlyn. I’m Maranda.” I finally get to meet Maranda! My contact that I’ve been emailing with for almost a month now! She introduced me to everyone, gave me a tour of the small office, and showed me where I sit. I surveyed the room of people. Everyone was chit chatting to each other and smiling. No angry employees who looked burnt out by their job or annoyed with the world. Everyone was pretty laid back. I didn’t get a tense, negative, or stressed vibe from anyone. Next, I met Laura, the other summer intern. She quickly involved me in some speedy, daily administrative work that we perform each morning. My first day had begun.
Hmm. Nothing at all like I had expected. In fact, AccuConference was the complete opposite of what I had imagined.
One thing I never envisioned was being of actual value to the company and genuinely being involved in the work they do. I’ve heard countless stories from friends who completed summer internships during which they contributed nothing at all to the business. One friend worked for an oil company and completed one hour of data input each day and then spent the remainder of his time browsing Facebook. Sure, he got paid a lot of money, but he learned squat. As soon as I walked through the door at AccuConference, I knew I would be valued. I wasn’t going to simply be the coffee-girl or the errand-runner. This company was really going to count on me for something and I was really going to learn something.
My first week was anything but boring. I helped with conference calls, I wrote content for the website, I wrote drafts for customer emails, I met the CEO, I met and had meetings with the VPs, I learned about search engine optimization, I listened to customer service calls, I met Byrd’s dad, a local entrepreneur, and discussed the differences between marketing and sales, I put together thank you packages to be mailed out to customers, and, probably most importantly, I learned about the company’s serious interest in customer service. What I find to be most admirable is, despite AccuConference’s slightly smaller workforce, the members of the company are able to manage such a large number of clients and go above and beyond for each individual customer. I feel privileged to work for a company from which thank you notes and thank you packages are sent on a regular basis. If only I could receive a cool package from every company I did business with…that would be pretty awesome.
Perhaps my first Monday through Friday, 9 to 5 job will be a greatly enjoyable experience, or perhaps I will never manage to train my body to get used to the grown-up schedule. Whatever the case may be, I’m eager to stretch my soon-to-be-college-graduate wings and soak up everything I learn here at AccuConference. I will be as a sponge. I’m looking forward to discovering new things about myself and what I’m capable of, and also I’m looking forward to showing AccuConference what I can do (I wouldn’t be able to do that at a company that hired me solely to pick up their dry-cleaning).