it’s summer 2012, so get an intern.

Summer has begun. Are you feeling swamped, overwhelmed? Is your outbox (either mentally or the 20th century one on your desk) overflowing with incomplete items?

Here’s a bit of advice: get an intern.

A breath of fresh air. Metaphors, aside, an intern is a phenomenal way to disrupt the hoarding, amassing, isolating tendencies  at work. An intern requires frontloading, which is critical (for me as a procrastinator). Frontloading introduces, acquaints and gives an intern the context to figure out what’s in store during the summer experience. The beauty of frontloading is that it then provides me with the opportunity to get out of the way.

A few steps to get an internship under way are:

  1. Pick a few projects, especially those that have sat idle for months yet are sufficiently important that you are not forgetting them.
  2. How long? — 3 months from June-Aug is a very different arrangement than just 6 weeks.
  3. How much? — can be paid for compensation either in an hourly wage, a stipend? additional perks include providing access, training and paying the way for other ways to learn, gain skills and get access in the summer of 2012.
  4. Figure out the logistics — the basics are:
    are they working virtually or in the same office/space as you? will they have access to a desk, computer with internet access?
    the next level of logistics are:
    how often will you make yourself available to sit down with them? To assign new tasks, get updates, and address questions that have arisen. I have decided to have a weekly call every Tuesday afternoon.
    what documents, history + context will be sent to them?
    what email or web access will you provide them with? 
  5. what are the framing and overarching questions that will guide their work for the internship’s duration?

All in all, an internship is a welcome pivot for an office that has not had young students around. They bring fresh perspective, different ways of learning/researching/accessing, as well as how to navigate the internet.

Go on, and get hiring — our labor markets need it.

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