The Good Intern
New Year, New Goals
The First Day
Speaking
Posted by Michelle Pence - - 3 comments

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I seem to be cursed...

...but this curse is actually a good thing.

In two of the internships I've done I've unexpectedly been promoted to from intern to a higher position because of some unforeseen circumstance.

Not long ago my boss called me during the workday and informed me that because a staff member had quit he was promoting me from intern to full-time legal assistant starting immediately.

Armed with a significant promotion and a learn as I go attitude I moved my things to my new desk and although I was excited for the new opportunity I couldn't help but think, "Here we go again."

The first time I found myself in a similar situation was when I was interning for a State Senator the school year before and filled in as legislative assistant while the regular employee was out sick for over a month.  Even though I wasn't completely trained for the position I learned quickly and arranged hearings of the Senator's committee, submitted committee reports, and prepared bills to be turned into the Senate floor.  It was stressful, but a great experience.

The major difference from when I was interning for the Senator to my current situation was that before I was only in the higher position for a month while now it was indefinitely.  

I'm lucky because there's nothing I love more than a good challenge and having to teach myself new things and to really have to use my brain to succeed.  The stress of these kind of situations makes everyday exciting and new.  While the fear of failure is present in my mind the feeling of accomplishment after being successful in a new position and exceeding people's expectations is always worth it.

My suggestion for someone in the same position is to grasp the opportunity and get to work.  Situations like these look amazing on a resume because they show you are capable of adapting to situations and make great stories for essays or personal statements.  Accepting the challenge will help you grow in ways you can't even imagine.

Be realistic
I'm only taking a few classes since it's my last semester of college so while working 40+ hours per week is still stressful, it's doable for me right now.  If this opportunity would have come up the semester before while I was focusing on studying for the LSAT and applying for law schools I would have had to explain to my boss that while I was honored that he thought of me for the position I couldn't handle working full-time and was happy in my current position.

Expect more
When I filled in as the legislative assistant I didn't get any type of raise or extra compensation because the switch was temporary and I was doing a program through my school which I was completely fine with.  I was just happy to be getting the extra experience.

In my current situation I had sought out the internship on my own was a paid intern working along with going to school.  When the promotion came along I had the expectation that by switching to working full-time I would be treated like all of the other full-time employees.  Luckily, my employer was great about working with me on a new schedule and making sure I was compensated well and on the same level as all of the other employees.

Ask for help
It's important to be able to figure some things that you are unsure of about the new position on your own, but you also need to find a good support system that you can rely on to answer questions or reassure you that you're on the right track, whether it be a supervisor or a co-worker.  Having confidence is a major part of succeeding in a new position and having this support system really helps with that.
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