Working in the Real World

Buddy the Elf once said that “work is fun.” Although I enjoy starting a new adventure at a new workplace, there is a certain fear that comes along with starting any new adventure. When I started my internship at C&A Industries just a few weeks ago, I felt that unavoidable nervousness. Society tells us to impress our friends and colleagues, avoid the “new-guy” mistakes at all costs, and find a work environment that you love. When I walked through the revolving door of C&A Industries on my first day, met the other interns, found my desk, and met my division, I knew that I would have a great time at this company.

While most of my musical colleagues realize the importance of working outside of music while trying to pursue success in it, they resent the idea of working in an office, or behind a counter. I previously worked at a small grocery store back home in Glenwood, Iowa. It was a simple job, in a low traffic store where customers could chat with the clerks like neighbors. This job kept me busy, gave me new friends, and put some cash in my wallet. There were even shifts where the manager would let me order pizza! I had no complaints.

After my freshman year at UNO was over, I started looking for a summer internship. People here ask me what I was going to school for. Since my answer is Music, the conversation usually ends there. Musicians and other fine arts students are rarely taken seriously in the workforce, as the perception is that our degree path only prepares us for the entertainment industry. This is quite accurate, since most corporations rarely hire musicians. Some of my musical colleagues who do not attempt to find work outside of music serve to justify this perception as well.

C&A is an exception though. The company is giving me an opportunity to experience the corporate world, despite the fact that I am not pursuing a business career. Just because I want to pursue music, doesn’t mean that real-world business experience isn’t relevant or practical for my career. There are transferrable skills to be gained from every job and my internship here is helping me maximize my marketability in the workplace. The internship program is allowing me to receive hands on experience in compliance. My daily tasks on the compliance team include medical billing for our clients, background checks on candidates, employment verifications, and sometimes mundane yet important tasks that are part of any job. Since my resume is mostly a list of musical accomplishments, my internship at C&A will add an impressive flare, as well as a list of connections in the workforce for the future.

The best part about being an intern at C&A is the people. It seems like every morning when I ride the elevator I meet someone new. Every time I get up from my desk for coffee, someone else is also walking by, and there is an exchange of greeting and pleasantries each time, without fail. I never feel lowest on the totem pole here or unacknowledged. Those little details show that we are a company that makes office life worth it. Sure, there are doldrums and roadblocks that I encounter while working, but it takes a truly special company to make a desk job fulfilling and fun, and C&A delivers.

Sam Kalhorn_RetakeSam Kalhorn is a summer intern with C&A Industries, Inc., working in the Compliance division with Aureus Medical, an affiliate of C&A. He is a sophomore at the University of Nebraska-Omaha studying Music Performance and minoring in Spanish. He is the secretary of the Kappa Iota chapter of the national honorary band fraternity Kappa Kappa Psi, and is an active member of UNO’s concert, jazz and athletic bands, as well as UNO’s Heartland Philharmonic Orchestra. He teaches private trumpet and music theory lessons, is a volunteer aid for the Burke High School marching band, and is a member of “Clark & Company,” a local R&B band. In his spare time, Sam attempts to learn new instruments and tries to exercise, with varying degrees of success.

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