When acclimating myself to my workplace for the summer, I expected to run into some obstacles. I knew I would get lost wandering around my building. I knew I’d flounder for a few days as I tried to make friends. These were obstacles I had anticipated, as I face them every time I start a new job. They are all a part of adjusting to a new work environment.
What I didn’t anticipate, however, was that my biggest obstacle had nothing to do with my environment; it had to do with my thinking.
I went into this experience with the mentality that I was “just an intern.” I was the least experienced in my department, and I was there to learn from my colleagues. I felt so fortunate to have been taken aboard by my company, and I didn’t want to step on any toes or cross any lines. My precautionary approach was intended to respect those around me, but I found that this thinking was detrimental to my experience. By not fully joining the conversation, I was robbing my company of valued input and robbing myself of being fully engaged in my work.
After a few weeks, I decided to make a change; I began voicing my opinions and challenging others’. Much to my delight, my supervisors took note and supported me in continuing to share my point of view. Lesson learned.