July 12, 2016
My unexpected, not stereotypical life as a Valtech summer intern.
Let’s start with the obvious stereotype: My name is Ashley Paulmeno, and I am an intern. On a daily basis, I run to Starbucks and order drinks I can’t pronounce as if my life depended on it. I wear my hair in a messy bun and rock my University of Alabama t-shirt as I silently jam to my “they say I’m a rapper” playlist while I work. I post on Instagram about jobs well done and spend my well-earned paychecks at the Urban Outfitters right across the street. But, while I may fit the stereotypical bill for an intern here, my internship experience has been anything but stereotypical.
Well, so far, no one here has hazed me or made me do anything crazy. No one has made me pick up their laundry or count M&M’s or organize highlighters until 10 o’clock at night. But, what they have done is expect the highest-level quality of work from me during my 3-month term as an intern.
No, I wasn’t forced to wear black slacks or a button down blouse. I didn’t have to raid The Limited for skirt suits or a blazer (if anything, I had to buy more yoga pants for Yoga Thursdays). When it came down to it, all that mattered was the work. And if yoga pants and a t-shirt meant I was ready to crackdown on Adobe Illustrator all day– then that was fine by them.
One fond memory that I have at Valtech was when I made the unfortunate mistake of drinking a large coffee right before my first presentation on our bi-weekly Global Marketing conference call. Needless to say, I made my presentation at (approx.) lightning speed. Even though I was anxious from my nerves and caffeine and my voice might have seemed shaky at times, as soon as I was done I received a crazy amount of support from my teammates here in Dallas and across the globe.
In such a fast-paced agency environment, there are high standards of quality for the work needing to be created. The standards of the company start internally with strong collaboration and constant communication between offices across the globe, and I got a glimpse into what that global contribution and camaraderie looks like that morning.
Learning from Experience
I never felt like an intern. My time with Valtech wasn’t filled with busy work like other previous experiences I have had. From the very beginning, my teammates trusted me with projects that were (and still are) making an impact on our global company culture. Each day, I come in and expect to work as a part of team– a strong one at that– filled with incredible storytellers whom are ready to represent our clients and our story to people in Valtech and beyond.
Leaving the Kiddy Table
I think it’s safe to say that most (if not all) of incoming college seniors are asking themselves a similar question: “What on earth am I going to be doing a year from now?” And if we’re being honest here, growing up can kind-of suck sometimes.
At such a critical time in our lives we really start to see what the past three years of our college education has taught us, and we catch a glimpse into what the “real world” is actually going to be like. The adult table big leagues are upon us.
But working at such a face-paced agency leaves no time for uncertainty. Deadlines are rigid and projects are large in-scope. You just have to… figure it out.
Valtech focuses on the Economy of Experience, and engineering amazing experiences for their clients, and their clients’ end-users. But I don’t think this mantra ends here. I believe my personal capital has grown tremendously in such a short amount of time at Valtech. My experience here has grown my confidence and made me feel prepared to enter this next chapter of my life.
The Big Secret
What’s the biggest thing I have learned? Well, if being an intern is about learning to gain your co-worker’s trust, constantly striving to learn more and working hard to meet steadfast deadlines, shouldn’t everyone want to be an intern?
Everyday I see my teammates innovating new ways to improve their output while relying on each other. At the end of the day, we all have something to learn from someone else.
The big secret is that you should always strive to be an intern too. Being an intern doesn’t only last for one summer, and why would you want it to? Be a sponge, own that you have a lot to learn and maybe you can be as successful as the professionals I get the opportunity to work with every day.
P.S. Thank you to my team of mentors, who never made me get coffee for them, but instead, would rather take a walk and get coffee with me.