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5 years Ago By / AJ Ross Staff

Henry’s Guide to Internship Domination

Tips to Hasten You Along the Path to Workplace Domination

When I first walked through the doors of AJ Ross, I was… nervous, to say the least – but ready to take my first steps down the path to the Dark Side of the workplace success in the workplace. Despite my eagerness, though, I suffered a few setbacks that I found quite discouraging at the time. Here are a few things that I learned that might help you:

  • Ask questions
  • Take Notes
  • Be Ready to Adapt
  • Accept Your Mistakes
  • Take Initiative
  • Communicate


Ask Questions – Something that I imagine near everyone has heard, and yet can often be overlooked. Being told “Don’t be afraid to ask questions” does not begin to stress just how important it is to ask questions, especially early in your employment. While there are certainly questions that you obviously shouldn’t ask (“Can I use the bathroom?” comes to mind) you should ask just about every other question you have. Asking questions can demonstrate any number of things: you are paying close attention; you want to fully understand whatever is being discussed; you know that you don’t understand, but you recognize the need to understand or that you are completely lost and need some guidance.



Take notes – The best way to keep track of what you have done, are doing and still need to do is to write it down. Taking a notepad or Post-its to meetings will help dramatically, since you no longer have to worry about simply remembering. Instead you can constantly refer to a list of notes somewhere. This will help you stay organized and focused, and ensure you complete all your work. Most importantly though, when the boss asks you what’s going on, or for some kind of input, you’ll not be caught like a deer in headlights, since you can quickly refer to your well-written notes.



Be ready to adapt – Work and school are two very different monsters. Transitioning into an environment where you are being paid for work completed, an environment where people expect quick results can be hard. It is paramount that you be able to complete a project in a timely fashion. Clients or employers are typically less inclined to offer extensions, since they’re paying you for whatever service you provide. Similarly important is being able to function and maneuver in your workplace. It will have it’s own quirks and rules, and you must be prepared to conform to certain standards.



Accept your Mistakes – If you are human, then you will make mistakes. It’s one of the inconvenient side effects of existing. That aside, you can handle your mistakes in different ways. Some might make a mistake, and agonize over that mistake until they are too stressed to function, or instead make more mistakes because they focus too hard on a past mistake. Consider accepting that mistake and wondering why it happened. That way you can change your point of view without focusing too hard on one thing. Consider looking it at everything from a different perspective – think outside the proverbial box. The quicker you can do this the better; your time is now money.



Take initiative – When you are hired to do something, people expect you to make their lives easier. There is of course a training period that can be a bit of a hassle, but after that you should be handling your work independently. If a project is handed to you, and you find several existing mistakes, correct those mistakes and document them, then briefly mention it when you hand the project back. This shows that you paid close enough attention to catch the errors, and showed initiative by fixing them, and then bringing those fixes to attention to be sure that they are valid. Make attempts to improve things instead of simply accepting them as they are. Taking initiative shows you are proactive, and invested in improving yourself and your company.



Communicate – One of the most important things you can do in a work environment is communicate openly with your coworkers. You will spend a great deal of time with them, and that time will be easier if you can pull off good communication. Smile and be friendly, ask questions when you need to, but without being too much of a pain, and keeping people in the loop whenever necessary are all very important. Now as my time as an intern comes to a close, I am very appreciative of this. Without it I would be something less than what I am now. IT helped me to build up my own confidence, my faith in myself, and also my ability to trust in both my coworkers and my superiors. I feel comfortable enough that I can ask for advice in moving forward with my career, or to crack a joke at lunch – even if I’ve not quite got the ‘funny’ part down yet.

Keeping these things in mind as you begin your foray into the working world will bring you a long way. As I finish my internship at AJ Ross, I think back to where I started, and look at how far I’ve come and think that my time here was productive and successful, and that the knowledge and skills garnered over that time will benefit me greatly in the future.


Henry Okakpu is a Programming intern at AJ Ross Creative Media. If he had a Lightsaber it would be black.

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