Pondering Interns

Many amazing opportunities have come my way in the last few years. I’m very fortunate that years of hard work in my fields has allowed me to grow and nurture my business (and the businesses of others). My life has been interesting and not always smooth (understatement alert), and I’m blessed to be where I am and to be learning and growing, always. With the growth in the last few years has come a few things that I just can’t get used to, however. One of these things is people asking to be my intern. I mean, I love that I’m good at what I do, but to me, I’m just… me. A thinker, a doer, but, not a “boss”, per se.

I don’t really have an “intern policy”, if there is such a thing. What happens is usually a DM or email exchange begins by someone reaching out to me about it. Depending on what I’m doing at the time, I tend to send a polite, non-committal reply thanking the person for their interest and then moving on. In the last year or so, people have begun to get more insistent about it. Lately, the insistence and persistence in following up on the initial exchange with more and more pointed requests has gotten, well, a little out of hand on occasion. To that end I thought I’d address it here and see if it helped to peek behind the curtain, so to speak.

I have no idea if I will ever have an intern. Things change, I suppose, and I am ever reluctant to use the word “never” because, hey, life shifts. I don’t mind if people ask, like I said, you never know, but… currently, I can say I have no plans to have one. I run my businesses in a very collaborative way. I am constantly listening and watching. I follow new talent in my fields, and am much more likely to reach out to someone for a project than to have someone trail behind me. I work best as a facilitator, idea person, surrounded by people and companies I trust, and I have a fantastic and connected team of individuals I’m honored to call friends as well as associates that I work with to make things happen on a regular basis.

I actively seek out new people to add to this circle of trust. If you are good, I will find you. If you are good and I can’t fit you into my projects, I will recommend you to someone I know who can, as I always seek to connect people. I may not ever tell you that I did this, in either case. It’s just … how I operate. Connect, listen, watch, connect, listen, engage, listen, think, listen and above all else, do do do.

If you are looking to be someone’s intern, I highly suggest you talk about that on your blog, on Twitter or elsewhere where I’d be likely to hear you. Or, tell Kelley Muir, who works with interns for one of her companies, or tell someone like her. There is a place for interns, and if you are vocal, and good, we’ll all help you find your place, interning with the right person for you, by listening and connecting.

  • Leslie-

    Thanks for sharing this. I've seen you continue growing your business — and the great response to all of your hard work. I can only imagine how difficult it has been trying to balance developing good relationships with discouraging more aggressive approaches to interning.

    I appreciate your honest and candid approach on how you work. I think it's great insight for people who are looking to “be your intern” or at least develop a relationship with you. It's always worth asking, but I read it as:
    it should be clear from all the great things *they are already doing* that *you* should be working with *them*.

    Asking is one thing — showing through action is entirely different.

    Kudos for taking such an open approach. That's one of the reasons I love collaborating with you!

    -k
    Kevin Micalizzi, Community Manager
    Dimdim Web Conferencing
    e: kevin@dimdim.com

  • Leslie-

    Thanks for sharing this. I've seen you continue growing your business — and the great response to all of your hard work. I can only imagine how difficult it has been trying to balance developing good relationships with discouraging more aggressive approaches to interning.

    I appreciate your honest and candid approach on how you work. I think it's great insight for people who are looking to “be your intern” or at least develop a relationship with you. It's always worth asking, but I read it as:
    it should be clear from all the great things *they are already doing* that *you* should be working with *them*.

    Asking is one thing — showing through action is entirely different.

    Kudos for taking such an open approach. That's one of the reasons I love collaborating with you!

    -k
    Kevin Micalizzi, Community Manager
    Dimdim Web Conferencing
    e: kevin@dimdim.com

  • After writing this, I found this: http://blogmaverick.com/2009/09/05/want-an-unpa

    Unpaid Interns Illegal? Thank goodness they aren't my style then 😉

  • After writing this, I found this: http://blogmaverick.com/2009/09/05/want-an-unpa

    Unpaid Interns Illegal? Thank goodness they aren't my style then 😉

  • After writing this, I found this: http://blogmaverick.com/2009/09/05/want-an-unpa

    Unpaid Interns Illegal? Thank goodness they aren't my style then 😉