Lending a hand

As an intern, I feel as though there is a cycle of having to do many tasks and then not knowing what to do. This has happened to me twice in the last three weeks. Last week I was bombarded with tasks to complete, and today I found myself asking everyone if they needed help. Initially, this feeling is frustrating because I wish I had a set schedule of tasks I needed to do– something like a syllabus. I mean, who can blame me for wanting this sort of structure when we grow up with teachers telling us what our homework is and professors handing out course schedules on the first day of class.

At my first internship last semester, I was very hesitant to ask others if they needed help, more so because I was afraid I would do the task wrong and they would either end up having to do it over or I would end up getting in “trouble”– in the sense that I would look bad in the eyes of my co-workers for making a silly and  avoidable mistake.

taken from: usmansheikh.com

However, at my current internship I have realized that I will only get out of it what I put in and I am always asking around the office where I can help out. I think this is an important lesson for any future or current interns to be cognizant of because I have yet for someone to be angry at me for asking to help out, and worrying about doing something incorrectly should be minimized because mistakes occur even when someone knows exactly what they are doing.

For example, a co-worker today was talking to me prior to leaving the office because she was frustrated that when she called UPS she asked for the incorrect pick-up service. I can’t blame her though because I would have done the same thing. But, she said “I should be smarter than this,” as a joke, but it is true that we are always going to be harder on ourselves than others because we do not want others to criticize our mistakes more than we do. But, if we try to make no mistakes we will never learn. So, next time you are sitting at a computer and keep refreshing on your email to see if a co-worker has a new task for you to do, don’t be shy and just offer to lend a hand first!