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Blake Bartter

Get Going, Ask "Dumb" Questions, Be Confident

by Blake Bartter Thursday, July 23, 2015

Remember when a week seemed to take a year to go by when you were a kid… let me tell you that feeling completely evaporates during a summer internship. This summer, it seems like a week goes by in the blink of an eye. I woke up one morning and realized that I had been at S.C. Johnson for 4 weeks already and my 1st deliverable was due that day.

SCJ has provided me with wonderful learning to date in Racine, WI. My assignment with the OFF! Brand team includes two projects, both highly analytical, as well an opportunities to work cross functionally. Additionally, it has been exciting (and scary!) for me to learn how impactful my projects will be to the team moving forward. We don’t just do ‘busy work’ for the brand, what we spend our entire summer on matters greatly to the success of the brand- pretty exciting. Even though embarking on a task I have no idea how to even start is really scary, I’ve found that the support here at SCJ is unparalleled. Someone is always there to help me think through the tough questions. One “watch out” I’ve discovered is to always give yourself enough time to work through something that is tough for you. This gives you enough time to go back and forth with your mentors and get to the right place. Being proactive about everything is the key to success.

Get Going:

No matter how proactive or how much of a go getter you are, you will find that the first three weeks of your internship go by in a blur. This can make things very difficult when you have midpoint deliverables looming and you are still trying to figure out how to get to the bathroom and get a monitor for your computer. However, getting a fast start on your projects is VITAL to success in that first check-in. It can be hard to figure out where to start when you are not close to the business you are on yet, don’t know how to find the data you need or the people to talk to, but chipping away at your tasks everyday will get you there. Setting goals is key as well. Knowing where you want to end up by the end of the week and making sure you do whatever it takes to get there will keep you on track 100%.

Ask the Dumb Questions:

This can be a tough thing to remember and even harder to put into practice, but your bosses do not expect you to know how to do everything they have assigned you. Most have actually looked at your past experience and specifically picked projects that they think will help you grow and challenge you. While this can sometimes be frustrating when you don’t know how to even start a deliverable that is set for you, I’ve found that asking the questions that you think are ‘dumb’ are actually the most helpful ones to ask. Additionally it shows that you aren’t afraid to say that you need help on something and demonstrates your willingness to learn.

Be Confident:

Everyone knows that you have only been at the company for 4 weeks. It is old adage in the brand world that it takes about 3 months to feel comfortable on your new business…. clearly this amount of time is not available in the internship setting. As a result, be confident with the things you do know. A lot of times, the tasks the brand has set you do are things that they need a body on because no one has had the bandwidth before. This means that no matter how much you do or do not know at 4 weeks, you are still more of an expert than those you are presenting to… so OWN IT. Confidence is key to being a leader on the team and is something brands look for in all interns.

Excited for the upcoming 6 weeks and know that I have so much more to learn and experience here at SCJ.