Walking into a new workplace is nerve-racking.
Walking in as an intern is much worse.
My first day as an intern, I was stuck somewhere between so happy I felt as though I might burst in my co-workers faces annoying them thoroughly, or even worse, clam up and say little to nothing, leaving them with the opposite impression I was so desperately hoping to make.
What if I make a ridiculous typo and it somehow makes it to print and then there are five billion copies of my mistake out there for the world to see? What if I say something in a brainstorm, so profoundly stupid, they never look at me the same way again?
Ya know? That’s a real thing; that’s real fear.
But to say I felt only fear would be wrong. There was also the excitement and hope I had been infected with during my unique interview process.
As a seasoned interviewee, I was over-prepared to answer the same generic questions I have been asked at every single one of my interviews.
“Who are your role models?”
“When did you graduate?”
“Oh, you held a position in your sorority?”
“What Drake song best describes your life?”
This process is rather daunting. Or as I consider it, exhausting and awful. Sitting up straight in my most professional attire, trying to even my breathing and nerves, all while being streamed a line of relentless questioning and somehow becoming outnumbered by employees, excited to take a [metaphorical] shot at the potential fresh meat.
But it’s the game, so I play.
DBA, however, created a new question from the starting line: What will this group interview be like? I hadn’t been in a group interview since applying for a job at the mall when I was 15. So while familiar, it remained curious to me in such a professional setting. They had caught my interest. Little did I know.
Upon arrival, along with a group of four other potentials, I was lured into the creative lair, where a great deal of ideas are born within the agency. There, we were asked only our names and where we’re from – each of us taking our five seconds of fame to give a glimpse into who we were. The resume in my leather-bound binder burned for me to take it out and place on the table, but I waited.
Next, we were given a creative brief.
This is new.
Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t upset, this just seemed a bit soon. Don’t they want me to jump through their hoops of fire? Don’t they want to show my portfolio to the whole room, publicly discussing my choice of the typeface Gotham? Simple answer – no.
“We don’t want to see your portfolios.”
That was easy – why didn’t you just say so? The burning of my resume extinguished with an inaudible hiss.
“We want to see what you can do.”
I couldn’t decide if I was horrified or excited – although considering my career choice, it would only seem appropriate for me to be inspired. And I was. The creative brief completely laid out what they wanted from us; all I had to do was follow through. I left the interview in such a frenzy, I found myself writing in my car while sitting in traffic on my drive home. By that night, I had written the first draft of a television spot.
By the time it came to the final round, the ranks of potentials had been narrowed significantly, and becoming a part of the team was nearly the only thing I could think about. I had been dipped, like bait on a hook, into the agency pond – I was given this small glimpse into the creative atmosphere which awaited me. This disruptive process had sparked a fire in me, a flame that quickly transformed into thirst – an intense thirst to learn from these talented people, who had so easily turned me into their biggest fan.
So there I stood, in the office on my first day as the new intern, riddled with fear and excitement and hope.
I concluded, in silence, there was only one thing to do.
I took a deep breath and introduced myself to a bunch of strangers.