At the end of this week, my internship will officially conclude and I’ll be moving on to my next career opportunity. My boss sat down with me on Friday to talk about my overall experience and how much I’ve grown in the past 3 months of working for Black Orchid Denim. Here are some things I learned about myself, the fashion industry, and some advice I got while on the job.
1. Be known for your work ethic.
This is probably the most important lesson I learned here. My boss is only 25 and has become a really respected person in the industry because of her incredible work ethic. She told me that in the working world, people who matter won’t judge you on the clothes you wear, the car you drive, or the number of followers on your Instagram, they’ll judge you based on your work ethic and how hard of a worker you are. Be known as the dependable person people can go to for help in your company and your reputation will grow.
2. Professionalism is full of nuances.
I used to think that professionalism, and acting with professionalism meant not cussing at work, not talking about certain topics in public, and overall acting like an adult. But no one ever told me that its so much more than that. Professionalism encompasses a whole separate code of etiquette that can’t really be learned overnight. It’s part knowing your place in the company, how you interact with your co workers, knowing boundaries, and how you conduct yourself in that kind of environment. Its subtly different than the kind of etiquette I’m used to coming from college and it took me a long time to start to understand it.
3. Get into the habit of checking your work.
In school, you’re used to having a teacher grade your homework or a friend proofread your essays, but in the working world, no one has the time to baby sit you and make sure you’re getting your stuff done correctly. Mistakes, in the best scenario, can interrupt your work flow and waste time in the future to fix, but in the worst case, can easily cost you your job. Make it a habit to go over your work thoroughly even if it takes more time because you don’t want to be known as the incompetent worker.
4. Constantly learn.
In any given position, there will be a plethora of things for you to learn; new programs, new methods, new strategies, and new skills. Whether it is the simplest email hack, or learning a new skill set, take every job and every day as a learning opportunity for you and become better and better at your job.
5. Move on when you feel like you’ve learned all you can.
With that being said, if you feel like you’ve learned all you can from a position, that you’ve mastered all of the skill sets you need and have hit a plateau, move on. Ask for a raise, a promotion, or find a new job at a different company. Don’t get complacent with where you’re at in a company and fall into a lull. Constantly challenge yourself and move upwards.
6. Seek out mentors.
Find people in your company or industry that are more experienced than you and build a mentor/mentee friendship with them. Go to them for advice, or follow their example to learn more and improve yourself. Mentors are like flashlights that help you navigate through unchartered territory in your professional life. More often than not, people are either too prideful or too scared to ask for help and that’s just not the way to go about things.
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