You’re at the office working on a project when suddenly you realize you have no idea what you’re doing. You’re a little nervous about asking anything and admitting your lack of knowledge but you’re not sure what you should do. So what’s the answer? Follow these three steps to solve problems as an intern.
1) Don’t Make An Ass out of U and Me
Whatever you do don’t make an assumption and start taking guesses. You could wind up doing something completely wrong and your boss won’t be quite so understand when your completed work turns hot to be a waste of time and needs to be redone. It may even wind up being redone by someone else. If you mess up something big it could hurt your reputation so do not under any circumstances just decide to figure it out as you go. This isn’t an attempt at putting together IKEA furniture (unless maybe it is because I’ve done that as an intern too in which case taking some guesses may be necessary), it’s business and it’s real money and real careers at stake here. Don’t risk that with guessing games.
2) When In Doubt Google It
If the answer to the thing you don’t know is something you could find on the internet try that first. For example, don’t waste your boss’s time asking what record label a certain artist is on (it’s on Wikipedia) or which artist is number one on Billboard this week. Before you ask anything that isn’t a specific industry or business question give Google a try.
3) There Are (Almost) No Stupid Questions
You didn’t find an answer on Google and you’ve made the smart decision not to assume anything. Great! It’s much better to ask a question that may seem stupid than to waste time and mess up a project. For example, I once worked with someone who put the CD covers in sideways for an entire batch of CDs that was about to be mailed out. It had to be redone and nearly missed the mail deadline to go out that day. The entire situation could have been avoided though if this person had decided to speak up rather than assume the cover went sideways. It’s better to ask a seemingly obvious question (after you Google it if possible) than to wind up making a costly mistake.