There is no doubt about that. I have used paid interns since the time I started my own business in 2001. I had worked successfully in the corporate world and then I started Blank and Associates. I had business cards quickly but I didn’t know much beyond that on how to create a job every day for myself.
So I went back to where I started. My youth. I had nothing to lose then. And then I connected with youth to help me. I hired my first paid intern. He has been in the workforce for a decade now and I pitched him this week on a project.
I have continued to use paid interns since then.
When I worked in the corporate world I always supported the use of interns. There were challenges often and reasons why not to hire them. We don’t have a work space for them and we don’t have any spare desktops I heard. In the corporate world you often hear from your fellow workers why you can’t do things.
My interns have never worked in my home office and all of them have their own MacBook. Many have IPads and all of them have Smartphones. In the majority of cases their phones were more updated than mine. Today interns don’t need a place to sit or your computer which is probably not as up to date as theirs.
I have often handed my IPad to my interns upon meeting them and say fix or make better and they do.
New Apps I have never heard of. New ways to organize data and ditch the stuff that I don’t use.
That is why I have WhatsApp and connect with my friends in Spain and Buenos Aires.
You see I trust young people with my technology which is my lifeline as I work for myself.
In the Old Normal you taught interns things. In the New Normal they teach you things.
I have heard a lot about Interns in recent years. Class action lawsuits because many companies didn’t pay them and they worked long hours.
I heard a story on NPR that Goldman Sacks recently limited intern hours and they urged their interns to be interesting. Their interns couldn’t work between the hours of Midnight and 7AM. That left only 17 hours a day for working. Now that would make your life very interesting when you had to fit in a commute in NYC, a workout, eating and a life in the other 7 hours.
I also still often hear Old Normal benefits of being an intern. You can immerse yourself in the real world company experience. That may have worked in the Old Normal when there was a company experience.
In the New Normal, where creativity and technology prevail, I wonder if that may be a challenge. Many work environments have very open spaces and often long work areas where employees are working at the same time they are wearing ear buds or earphones. Immersion is different today.
I personally find that young people in the work force are very inclusive and open to helping.
I think one key step is to give your interns a mentor. It should be an up and coming young employee who has only been with your company for a year or two. Helping out an intern will provide great experience for both and will probably lead to a beer or two.
You see in the New Normal you don’t teach them from the top. You teach them from the bottom and inspire them from the top. To grow our agency you need to stoke the bottom of the fire.
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