Today, we are thinking out loud about talents, discovering talents, and about how internships come into play.
A talent is a natural pattern of thought, feeling, or behavior. We all have some. Some of them we discovered at an early age, while some might have taken years to come out of their shells. Some we might perhaps never discover. In the ideal world, we’d all be working in jobs that let us use our talents and discover new ones, however, for a lot of people, that’s just not the case. As a matter of fact, many employees don’t get to use their talents at work on a daily basis. Even though if they were doing what they’re good at and what they enjoy, they’d be happier, more focused and more productive. As a result, they’d produce outcomes that are better for their employers as well. But how can we overcome this? We have a pretty strong hunch that internships could be a step in the right direction.
“Eagles are designed to fly. Elephants are created to roam. Niagara Falls is supposed to flow. You’re designed to live life using your unique, natural talents.”
Sleighdogs are very much into talents. Into uncovering the hidden ones. Re-discovering the forgotten ones. Finding new ones. Developing the existing ones. We use them as resources. We share them and encourage them. Moreover, we believe that internships are a great way to play around with talents and make the most of them.
Internships can help people learn in an environment where everyone knows they’re there to do exactly that – learn. Even through failure because, let’s be honest, our busy work lives don’t generally give us a lot of space to fail. As an intern, you can ask a tonne of questions and get continuous feedback. But we don’t buy into the classic “an intern is your coffee-fetching human photocopier” cliche. Frankly, we think that’s reserved for companies with crappy business models who need cheap or free interns to do their actual work. Not our case.
We do, though, know for a fact that interns have to be chosen wisely. You always have to make sure you are able to give them the amount of attention they need, and, most of all, that you can actually provide them with the opportunities they’re looking for. But if you’re lucky and find an intern who is ready to dive right into your company environment, you can get a lot out of it. You can get feedback on your onboarding, your corporate culture, maybe even your services and products.
What’s more, your employees will also grow by educating and mentoring your interns. And at the same time, having an engaged, grateful, motivated and driven intern is a wonderful experience. Moreover, our interns also often dip into topics that we don’t always have enough time for, which can be really beneficial for us all. They essentially bring in value by broadening our knowledge and know-how about various outside-of-the-box topics.
One of our recent interns, Martyna, has a few interesting and insightful takeaways from her own experience here at Sleighdogs.
Martyna graduated with a Master’s degree in trade and marketing and worked in e-commerce for almost 3 years. “I like digital infrastructure, and enjoy the variety of this field. While working in e-commerce, I realized that I’d like to spend some time discovering my unique talents as well as how I like to work. I wanted to find out what I should focus on to be both happy and successful, and, consequently, have a job that makes me feel passionate and motivated.” Martyna wanted to work for a company that’s open-minded and supportive of professional development, and eventually, she found Sleighdogs. A few interviews down the line – with Tereza, our HR Lead, as well as with Jonas and Karl, the co-founders, who then became Martyna’s mentors – she joined Sleighdogs in Prague.
“Everything I did was a step towards finding out more about me and how I work the best.”
“I was encouraged to write regular reports about how I felt, if I was getting what I wanted out of it, and I was regularly given feedback. There was a lot of freedom to find my preferred working arrangement and to boost my productivity. I learned how to use certain tools (for example Google Tag Manager and Google Data Studio) and developed useful new skills (such as how to create a marketing strategy or carry out A/B split tests).” Interestingly, for Martyna, the internship confirmed that the path she was already on is actually the right one for her.
She also managed to overcome her fear of giving presentations and, as a result, grew her self-confidence in speaking in front of a crowd. “I really used to hate giving presentations, because I always felt like I was missing something. People weren’t interested enough, I didn’t feel confident, and it was all just a waste of time. At Sleighdogs, I had the support and the opportunities to find my own way to feel good while giving presentations. Now, I actually enjoy it.”
From Martyna’s experience, those are the four main points of finding the right internship for you and making the most of it:
5 months down the line and nearing the end of her internship stunt in Prague, it’s time to reflect and see if the internship was what Martyna thought it was going to be.
“The biggest takeaway for me from my time at Sleighdogs is that I realized that, most of all, I hate being bored. I always need something to stimulate my interest. Lots of tasks, lots of sticky notes, lots of phone calls, the world around me is running like crazy – that’s what I like. Moreover, I learned that I’m a doer who likes working in a dynamic environment. Finally, it also became even clearer to me that the digital world is the place for me.”
Have you ever done an internship yourself? Or, alternatively, if you’re an entrepreneur, do you encourage internships? What benefits do you think there are to them for both the interns and the employers? We’d love to know. Drop us a line or tweet us!
Visuals created by Boris Turek & Denis Simonenko