On the origin and evolution of the intern

Rumor has it, almost 100 years ago interns first originated from a rare species of aspiring young professionals.

Not much has changed. The business world has seen dramatic transformations, but the intern’s role in the corporate ecosystem remains the same: doing grunt work, fetching coffee. The species seems to have a slow evolution rate.

Nevertheless! Interns persist and are as abundant as ever. So the question arises, how has this species been able to survive without evolving to its environment?

Through an in-depth study, I believe I have discovered what makes the intern thrive — and it may surprise you.

The role of an intern, I’ve found, is truly unique. Although they may have a job title, their true role cannot be so easily defined. Every work day brings new tasks in different areas of the company. Successful interns do not shy from unfamiliar grounds and challenges. Instead, they take pride in their ambiguous roles.

While in the field, I stumbled upon an intern in her natural habitat:

The intern was sitting at her desk working on a sales assignment when, out of the blue, a colleague of a neighboring department approached her and requested she attend a brainstorming session for a new marketing campaign. As a sales intern, she may have felt this work didn’t pertain to her, but she wisely accepted the offer. During the brainstorm, she spoke her ideas and received positive feedback. At one point her suggestion was commended by the head of the digital marketing department. She was then asked to introduce herself over speaker phone to great marketing minds.

Because this intern was asked to assist in a brainstorm outside of her department, she was bound to meet new people. Did she know her opportunities would grow as she habitually accepted invitations, accomplished tasks and expanded her network? Or was there something else at work?

Here, we discover why interns have continued to exist and thrive through the years: It’s their unwavering inability to say the word “no.” It’s just not in their nature.

Interns are Jim Carrey’s “Yes Men” come to life, saying “YES!” to anything asked of them.

A low food-chain status leaves them eager to prove their worth and make the most of their internship. As a result, they grow opportunities to meet new contacts and build a strong reputation while learning industry-wide skills.

Interns are truly a remarkable species as they continue to defy the laws of evolution and remain a presence in the office. No matter the job, when called upon, interns answer the call.

I advise working interns to recognize their dynamic roles and take advantage of all opportunities that come. Demonstrate a desire to learn and participate by being the YES men and women of your office.

Let the world know: Interns may not be fully evolved business professionals, but we can survive with the fittest of them.

Check out what it’s like to be an intern at CSC!

Want to learn more about what we do at CSC?


Finding your niche as an intern or new hire

How interns can start networking

When first-day jitters affect first impressions

brad-mann-bioBradley Mann is a summer intern working in the content hub at CSC’s Tysons location. Bradley is an upcoming senior at James Madison University majoring in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. Bradley will be blogging throughout his summer internship with CSC’s Content Hub. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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