Today was my first day working as an intern at a major advertising agency (I use the term “working” very lightly because it was mainly a day of introductions and briefing). Like most people entering a new job, I was nervous and excited, so I made sure to pack everything I could possibly need in my handbag — I didn’t want my makeup to run and leave me looking like a fool or be caught dead without all my appropriate paperwork. At the end of the day, however, the MVP item in my handbag was definitely my journal.
There’s plenty of rookie mistakes you can make when you’re starting a new job, and one of the things your supervisors and managers will detest the most is an intern or new hire who doesn’t pay attention and listen well. When you’re new to a company, it’s your job to start adding value as soon as possible, and if you aren’t alert on your first day, you can easily miss the tons of information that’s being handed to you. I wrote down as much as I could, even when some information seemed obvious, because I’d rather have notes to look back on than forget and look like an idiot later on.
I wrote down everything from the proper way to use the printer to the exact time I needed to be at work the next day. These may seem like things that I could probably remember, but why gamble? Another thing managers hate is a new hire who doesn’t show up to work on time, so it can’t hurt to make a note of changing schedules.
Of course, whoever is in charge of you knows that you’re new to the company, so they aren’t going to expect you to be perfectly on top of everything for the first couple of weeks. In the beginning, they will most likely be more open to larger quantities of questions from you, so take your chance while you have it! By taking plenty of notes during your orientation period, you’ll have an easier time seeing where you have gaps in information. Then, you can ask your manager all the important stuff right away before they get sick of looking over your shoulder.
As someone who has had to train new people at my old summer job, I’ve never had a problem welcoming a new person to the team, and I kind of like dispensing tidbits of advice and wisdom. Maybe it’s my ego or I just really like being helpful, but I feel good telling new hires the things I wish I had been told. I find that most people share this sentiment. Whenever I’ve started a new job, the person showing me around always tries to give me lesser known tips about their particular workplace, and I found this instance to be no different. I was happy to write down information that wouldn’t have been shared in an informational packet such as the type of clothing people in my work team typically wear and how easily gossip can spread in the office.
Lastly, I was glad to have my notebook because your first day of work might not go the way you imagined it. Because I’m interning at an advertising agency with many other interns, we all had different managers and different experiences on our first day meeting them. It just so happened that the team I’ll be working with is extremely busy right now, so while other interns were blessed with the opportunity to go out for coffee and get to know their bosses, I had to simply sit back and watch people work. They didn’t really have enough free time to sit and train me on the basics today, and that’s okay, but now I know that I need to start making myself useful to them even sooner than I thought. Without a list of orders or a coffee date, I was left to figure out how to spend the last 45 minutes of my first day. My choice? To sit close by, listen, and take notes.
They say the best thing an intern or new hire can do is anticipate people’s needs and meet them before they’re even asked. How do people do such magic? By listening, taking notes, analyzing patterns, and being creative. I haven’t had the chance to do much yet, but I can start getting the gist of everything’s that’s going on so that I can start predicting future needs. For this purpose, my notebook has quickly become the holy grail of my handbag.