July 27, 2011

Legal Interning Tip #7

You control your own experience.

If you have been interning this summer (legal or not) and you haven't done this already, I urge you to take a moment to reflect on your experience thus far.  It can be so easy to get caught up in meeting deadlines and joking around with your coworkers that you may risk your entire internship going by without taking the time to think about what your goals are for your internship experience and whether they are being met.

Here are a few examples of questions you should ask yourself:
  1. What have I learned?
  2. What have I accomplished?
  3. What would I like to learn or experience, but haven't had the opportunity to yet?
  4. Where can I improve?
The answers to these questions should give you a rough picture of how you feel about your interning experience as a whole.  If you find that you are really happy with your experiences so far and are learning a lot, great!  But if there are aspects of your internship that you are unhappy with, now is the time to address them.  You have the power to control your own interning experience, whether it's through discussing what you'd like to do with your supervisor, working to improve your performance so that you will be the first to be considered for opportunities, or even just adjusting your attitude or approach to your work.

If there's a something you want to learn about, express interest in the subject.  You might even want research it on your own time so that you are the first person your supervisor thinks of when they have a matter in that area that needs to be taken care of.  Keep in mind that some supervisors are more receptive than others, and that yours may not have the flexibility to be able to give you projects in your areas of interest.

If your supervisor is unwilling or unable to take your interests into account, focus instead on how the skills you are learning can transfer to other areas that you are interested in.  An internship that may seem like a bust or a waste of time might actually be teaching you important skills that will help you to impress a different supervisor in your next internship, who may then be more inclined to trust you with bigger and more interesting projects.

You should also be open to the possibility that maybe your supervisor didn't trust you with that big project because you haven't yet shown that you can handle it.  If you feel like you keep missing the mark on assignments, catch your supervisor when he or she is not busy and ask how you can do better.  You are here to not only learn about the law (or any other aspect of the music business), but also how to work effectively with and under others.  And those skills will serve you well wherever you end up.

- Lauren
Email: lauren@internlikearockstar.com | Twitter: @Musicn3rd
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