My experience as an intern at LeadMD went far beyond what I ever expected in many different ways. I learned so many platforms and necessary business skills, made many connections, and learned about myself and received amazing advice along the way. Each day I have been working here I have learned something new.
My first week working here I was nervous if I was going to be treated like the horror story internships I hear about, like being the coffee girl for the office, but my experience was the exact opposite. Although I am only an intern, my opinion mattered to the company. I started with on-boarding training through Six Bricks. This enabled me to understand the company, what they do, and what they work with, allowing me to jump right in and be excited to learn. I was given constant work that I enjoyed and actually mattered, not just busy work.
The environment of LeadMD is one that I have come to learn I truly enjoy working in. Desks are all open, everyone is constantly talking to one another and friendly, our CEO and Founder, Justin Gray, is extremely approachable and wants you to come to him with open, glass office doors. Did I mention we have lime-green Lovesacs all over the office? Don’t worry, my fellow intern, Ishita, and I definitely utilized those!
As I come to the end of my internship I realize how truly sad I am to leave the environment I’ve come to love along with the people I’ve grown to know. But I know I am leaving with more knowledge than I came with, and having received advice that I am able to utilize for the rest of my life!
Some of the main pieces of advice I’ve received and things I have come to learn here may seem simple, but to a young adult looking to grow in many aspects of life they have benefit me beyond measure.
I Never Knew How Much Went into Posting a Piece of Content (like this blog) Onto a Website.
Who knew it could take hours for you to prepare a piece of content in WordPress and everything that comes before that? I certainly didn’t before this summer. Coming to learn the ins and outs of WordPress has enabled me to learn other platforms like SoundCloud and Vidyard. I learned how you input the text in WP, the category and tag sections are very important, there is a difference between a post and a resource (which is very important to know that difference), and much more. Learning how much time goes into preparing content before it is sent out has given me more appreciation for the time people spend putting all of this together.
Be Able to Take Feedback
Learn how to take feedback properly. While everyone takes feedback differently, learn how your coworkers like to receive their feedback. One thing LeadMD has you do during onboarding is a User Manual, which includes saying how you like to receive feedback. You can’t be scared or upset by what people say. They aren’t attacking you, but providing you with information of how to do better and maybe present that project better next time. So, learn how your co-workers like to receive their feedback as well so that they don’t feel as though you are attacking them.
Be Aggressive and Don’t Take Sh*t From Anyone
Being a woman in today’s workforce has come so far from what it was in the past thirty years, but this applies to everyone. DON’T TAKE SH*T FROM ANYONE! Be aggressive in what you want and what you strive for, and don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t capable of doing something. And if someone does say this, prove them wrong and do it that much better! Know your worth and be aggressive in wanting that equity in the company, in wanting that new job title, and in doing what you want and enjoy.
Salary is NOT the Focus
Do NOT make salary your focus when you are applying for a job. Yes, a good salary is nice, but look into the future and see what will benefit you the most ten years from now. Look at your overall total income. Take stock in the company, ask for that title, have a percent of ownership in the company, look at the overall financials of the business. If you are given a raise, but you want the title of Marketing Director because that will benefit you more down the road then ask for that title over the raise! The worst thing anyone will tell you is no.
Personal Time is Important, Have Self Awareness, and Never Stop Learning
Always work your smartest and hardest, but don’t overwork yourself to insanity. Once you step into the door of your home, apartment, wherever you live, take a deep breath and reflect on the day you’ve had. Take time to do what you enjoy after work whether that be exercising, yoga, cooking, reading a book, sitting in silence, or binge watching your favorite show. Build a habit of constant learning (do it for 21 days and then it becomes routine) whether it be reading blogs, articles, a new word, just never stop allowing yourself to learn. Knowledge is power. Take that time to yourself and remember there are only 24 hours in a day, and life flashes by in an instant. So, breathe, relax, and reflect on yourself for your own sake and sanity.
Don’t Be Afraid of Change
“The Riskiest Thing Is to Take No Risks.” Yes, change can be extremely scary, but what is even scarier is the thought of missing amazing opportunities to avoid change. Change is inevitable in everything you do. Being only 20 I see how much I have changed from my 18-year-old self in many ways, and I know that when I’m 25 I’ll see how much I’ve changed from my 20-year-old self, and so on. Change isn’t bad. Change can be very good for you! If that job is 3,000 miles from your home and your hesitant to change, just do it. What if an offer like that never comes up again, and 15 years down the road you regret never going? Take that chance, take that opportunity, change for yourself because you never know what it will lead to!
Set goals for yourself for every 5-10 years. Be able to ask yourself, “Where do I see myself in 10 years?” Any company worth their weight in gold should have a manager for you to be able to sit down with and set goals for yourself to grow in the company over the years. By doing this you also show your managers that you care about growth for yourself and growth for the company. You never know where you can go in a company unless you ask to set that roadmap. So, set away!
Get a Mentor
Find someone early on, whether it be before you enter the workforce, or at your new job, who can mentor you and teach you the ropes of the business world and the world in general. If your mentor happens to be someone in your company know that you can often times go to them with internal issues that you are unsure how to solve. But don’t get a mentor that you can only talk business with, make sure you have a mentor in all aspects of life. Someone that is able to guide you in business is amazing, but someone who can also guide you in tough decisions or situations you are facing in life is even better. And make sure that your mentor isn’t just all ice cream and cookies sweet, they need to be able to tell you how it is and have true tough love with you.
Network, Network, Network!
Keep relationships with people. Reach out to people. Start new relationships. Possibly the main piece of advice I took away from having one-on-one 30 minute meetings with everyone at LeadMD was that everyone discussed how important networking and keeping relationships is. While I’ve always understood that networking is important, this has without a doubt opened my eyes to just how important it truly is. Each person I spoke to mentioned networking and good relations, and how everything in life ties back to who you know. Although you may be the most qualified person for the job, if someone else interviewing/applying has a relation with someone in the company they truly have a better chance because of that recommendation. Never burn bridges, no matter how much you want to, because you never know who someone knows. Go to networking events, reach out to people on LinkedIn, whatever it takes to grow your network of people.
Because of my supervisor, Natasha, advising Ishita and I to have “spit-fire” sessions with everyone in the office we were able to receive this advice and make connections that I may not have realized ran as deep as they do. Everyone in the office is willing to help me beyond this internship and into the future in any way they are able. And I have grown to gain a very close friend who I will miss sitting next to every day, and hanging out with on the weekends, Ishita!
What I’ve mentioned in this post doesn’t even begin to touch on what I’ve learned throughout the past three months I’ve been at LeadMD. I’ve learned platforms I never even thought I would learn, like Camtasia, SalesForce, Marketo, Clarizen, along with QA’ing, and so much more. These three months have taught me immeasurable amounts in the business world and in my personal life.
Thank you, LeadMD.