A few weeks into my internship I was walking outside to get lunch when I was hit with the realization that in four months it would be a new Sara walking the same streets looking for her lunch. It was the moment where everything sank in and I grasped the hard fact that there will be a new Sara every four months, twice a year, for the rest of eternity.
The words replaceable, easily disposable, and unimportant were three quick words that popped into my head. And those words were not attached to good feelings. As I j-walked across Pat Quinn Way, I thought “If I get hit by a bus right now, I could be replaced within the hour!”
And that’s when it (figuratively) hit me – so could anyone else.
Replaceable: able to be replaced
The definition states that the person is able to be replaced. Simple as that. It doesn’t state that the person has to be replaced with someone who is better or of equal value. Don’t think about the inevitable fact that soon enough someone will be right on your heels to take over, but instead think about what you can do in the meantime. Knowing that you will be replaced is out of your control, what is in your control is how you make an impact.
Once I was able to grasp this concept I began to channel those negative thoughts into something positive. Yes, I am and will always be replaceable, but I can make myself difficult to replace. I can work towards the goal of leaving big shoes to fill.
So why not keep the notion of being replaceable in the back of your thoughts throughout your internship period, and at the same time actively think of ways that you can make yourself difficult to replace. Focus on working hard while no one is watching, with the understanding that if you do so day in and day out the hard work will be noticed. Focus on being a better intern than you were the day before. Watch what your boss and other people in your department are doing so you can pre-empt the things you can do to make their jobs easier. Ask for feedback, be present, have fun!
So leave your mark, and do so not only in your department. There are so many people that you can build genuine connections with including other interns, departments working closely with yours, security, game night staff, and the list goes on. Say hello, smile, ask questions, and you will make some great waves within your organization. You will be replaced but you can make an impact.
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