Making coffee, Justin Timberlake and complete creative freedom. In my first week as an intern at C&A Industries, I experienced two of those three things.
Can you guess which two they are?
This summer I am working for the top staffing company in Omaha, Nebraska- C&A Industries in the training department. Let me tell you, I had no idea what to expect.
As a college-aged student, the very thought of being told that I am a “valued member” of the team is exceptionally important to me. So how does making coffee fit into that equation?
Oh yeah, it doesn’t!
Making coffee at C&A Industries as an intern is like singing Beyonce’s “If you like it you should have put a ring on it!” in the middle of a funeral.
You just don’t do it.
Being an intern at C&A doesn’t mean doing the grunt work and being tossed the projects other people don’t want to do. You are a valued member. You are part of the team.
As a matter of fact, it’s so against the policies for an intern to make coffee that when a team member had Libby (a fellow intern) and I play a joke on our intern coordinator, it almost went down. For future reference, don’t tell your boss that the CEO called you and told you to make sure the coffee is stocked at all stations. (It was Mark’s idea.)
Joe, there’s no way you had any interaction with THE JT. The man who brought sexy back. There’s no way.
But there is.
Imagine this. Day two as an intern, you’re still a bit nervous, unsure of what is in store for the day. Then boom. Your coworker offers for you to help on a video cover montage to JT’s new song for Dreamwork’s “Trolls”.
I mean, who could say no to that? So I’m all in. We go, film a sweet video that even the CEO got in on, and we post it the next day.
Check it out here.
Enter Justin Timberlake. JT sees it. He loves it. Posts it to Facebook, Twitter AND Instagram. Omaha, you most definitely have it going on.
As an intern, you never really know what to expect. You just get ready to roll with the punches. But when your boss tells you to go crazy and have fun with a project, you sort of just sink back, let that smile grow on your face, and get to work.
If you’re a nerd like me, getting to learn new programs is the best thing since sliced bread. It’s captivating, it’s never boring and it makes you more marketable.
When I went to C&A, I had three distinct goals:
1.Learn as much as I can
3.Have a good time
Five days in, I can honestly say I am on track.
Being given creative freedom is my dream, internship or full-time job. It’s always what helps me create my best work. To be in an environment where you are trusted as a member of the team, to produce content that will progress your company, what else could you ask for?
The culture and the people
If you work with the worst people in the world, it’s time to stop reading. Because this might make you jealous.
C&A has been voted “Omaha’s Best Place to Work” for the last six years. Spend one day in the office and you’ll see why.
Everywhere you look, genuine smiles, people loving what they do, and a culture engulfed with positive attitudes.
Coming from a team who had a lot of drama and couldn’t communicate, working with real professionals who want to see each other succeed is refreshing.
C&A’s slogan is “Where people are the solution”. If you really break that down, a corporation is saying it’s not about the money. It’s not about the technology or defeating other companies. It’s about finding the right people to do the best job who can work together.
Week one in review
Week one was intense and amazing. If week two is even half as exciting, I think this summer will blow ever summer I’ve ever had out of the water.
But, I must leave you with four pieces of advice if you are entering the workforce or interning at a company this summer:
1.Ask questions. The internship is a learning experience. If you don’t understand something, trying to figure it out on your own will only take up more time and will frustrate you. Asking questions will show you care about the details and help you create a product the first time, instead of being shy and creating something that they didn’t want or need.
2.Be valued. Like I said, an internship is a learning experience. It is not an excuse for you to be used for free labor or to do grunt work. Internships provide an opportunity for the companies to try out potential work candidates and for you to try out the company. Find a place that will value your work and you as a part of the team.
3.Have fun. The workplace can be scary, sure. Deadlines are important; you should never miss one. If you give someone your word, keep it. Most of all, make sure to see the fun in your learning. If you are at a cubicle wondering why you’re there, go 100% on your current project. Use your imagination and create something that you’re proud of and they will be able to use. If you have fun, a project transforms from an assignment into an opportunity.
4.Be genuine. Finding a truly genuine person is a rarity these days. If you are genuinely interested, excited and honest about things, you will find yourself happier. Treating other people well is also a genuine characteristic that is valued. You never want to leave people guessing how you feel about a project. If you are nervous, tell them. If you don’t, they might assume you’re 100% ready to go. Set yourself up for success.
Good luck to you all in your endeavors this summer. I will keep you all updated on the happenings of my internship at C&A Industries after every week. Have a great summer, learn lots and above all, have fun.
Joseph Brown is a summer intern with C&A Industries, Inc. and a student journalist from Omaha Nebraska. He studies Web Communication Design, Journalism and Media Arts and Communication Studies at Hastings College. Brown has experience in film production, graphic design, photography, writing and the Adobe Creative Office. He also sits on the National Communication Studies Board with three other students. His professional goal is to create meaningful content on a mass media level. He currently serves as the Advertising and Promotions Director of Hastings College Media, where he oversees a team of seven people dedicated to raising funds for the media team and promoting local businesses.