Internships are fun, they provide college students with all the positives of a real life career without the deadlines or sales goals of working for a professional sports team. For the lucky few, internships can turn into careers after graduation. There are a lot of do’s and don’ts when it comes to getting the most out of your experience. Here are a few things that I have learned over the years, both as an intern and full-timer, about what absolutely NOT to do as an intern.
If you are an intern, the word “No” should not be in your vocabulary when it comes to responding to those in charge (this of course, only pertains to work related duties.) If a superior, which is everyone, asks you to do something, you say yes. I think I spent half of all my time during my internship walking back and forth from the cardboard room to the front offices. People needed the cardboard out of the office, so I took it. No one expects an intern to stroll in and sell hundreds of thousands of dollars during their time with the team, this isn’t Moneyball. If you can do small tasks that can take even a little bit of stress away from some of the full-timers, they will remember your name, and you can’t ask for much more than that. Yes, no one likes ripping ticket stubs for hours at a time, but remember, everyone in charge has paid their dues, and you are not the exception.
Show Up Late
Never show up late, ever. If you can’t make it to work or a meeting on time as an intern eager to learn (and hopefully get hired) how can you ever expect anyone to take you seriously? When you show up early to things, people may not say anything to you about it, but trust me, they remember. Something else they will definitely remember: YOU WALKING INTO A MEETING AFTER IT HAS ALREADY STARTED. If this happens to you, you certainly have some explaining to do. Don’t be that guy/girl. Be on time, heck, be early. It also helps to leave late as well (if you’re actually working and not just hanging around.)
Be Afraid to Ask Questions
This is a big one. Ask questions, but be strategic on how you do so. If someone is working and it looks like it would be a bother, don’t even try. The last thing you want is to be labeled as annoying or disruptive. If it looks like someone is willing to talk or has some down time, ask away. Don’t just ask questions to make it seem like you are interested, actually be interested. The knowledge you can obtain from real world professionals, especially in sports, is ten times more valuable than lectures in a classroom.
It’s important that you act professional, BUT, that doesn’t mean you should be all business, all the time. Companies (and teams) hire based on what they think you will do for the business. At the same time, the attitude and culture that you bring with you can help to separate you from other candidates. Professionals in the sports industry work crazy hours, all year round. When hiring, teams consider the type of person you are, and what intangibles you bring to the table. Always work hard, but have fun, if people like you, they will give you a chance.
Internships are great, they help give college students a taste of the real world before they get thrown into the fire post-graduation. Just like anything else, they are what you make them. Don’t just go through the motions, be active, and strive to learn. If you play your cards right and get a bit lucky, you could land a full time job sooner than you think.