"Can I have extra pickles on that turkey sandwich?" "I want light sauce on my meatball, but extra grated parm!" "Could I get my oil and vinegar on top of the lettuce instead of on the bread?" Welcome to the all-too-familiar hustle and bustle of Hoagiefest at Wawa, the "boujee" of all convenience stores on the east coast, along with constant multi-tasking while delivering superb customer service. However, for the first summer in four years, I was not apart of this hustle; I traded my pickles in for pumps at my internship for the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, where I gained more experience than I bargained for, which I condensed into these "3 E's" that I hope everyone takes away from their internship.
This summer, I learned the importance of dressing professionally, since we do represent who we work for, and it was worth every penny (even if it sometimes came from my Dad's Macy's card) getting a new wardrobe for my job. I'm a firm believer that how you present yourself shows that you care about what you're doing, you care about who you're working for, and you care about yourself. I also learned how to navigate socially in a work environment beyond the Wawa deli, known as "workplace etiquette," where I became more confident after every hand I shook and every good impression I gave, which would not have been possible without the mannerisms I consciously practiced, until they became second nature.
2. EfficiencyMy productivity in networking greatly enhanced during my internship. I connected and formed relationships with my supervisors, who may become potential employers (fingers crossed), as well as pushed myself out of my comfort zone daily to build a legacy for myself through showing my work ethic by constantly searching for projects. I also formed close relationships with my colleagues who have similar goals as I do, and we all plan to stay in touch with each other. I expanded my personal network with like-minded friends who motivate me to continue to better myself, in addition to my professional network, consisting of individuals who will be there for me once I officially enter the workforce next year.
My greatest takeaway during the last few months was the pavement for my governmental career pathway. Witnessing the rewarding, meaningful work accomplished by public servants was inspiring. For example, I first-handedly saw the importance of legislation and outreach. The NJ Department of Labor's policies are essential to ensure the functionality of statewide workplaces, and workers' rights, but knowledge of these laws must be spread through outreach, which is where my handy dandy excel sheets came in! Despite the sometimes tedious work, I learned that, with government work, there's always a purpose. I'm enlightened by the work done and knowledge taught from my summer internship, and I hope you received the same worthwhile experience at yours.
Although I'm now back in my apron and non-slip shoes, it won't be for long, because with my new skills and "3 E's," I'm excited to see what happens after May of 2020.