I am an aunt. You can tell me anything and I will not raise an eyebrow. I will not divulge your secrets. I’ll transfer cash to your account when you’re having a tough week and need a night out, or if you’re desperate and need to make the rent. I’ll occasionally kick your ass, but will also love you no matter what you do.
We have an intern working in our office this summer and I seem to have become her work-aunt. She is surrounded by people with excellent credentials, vast experience and education. Yet she spends most of her time with me. Maybe by choice, or maybe because I’m often the only one who is always in the office. Whatever the reason, she comes to me for advice on work, and on life.
She attends an Ivy League school. Her parents are spending an absolute fortune for her education, but she is getting her guidance from me … the assistant. Granted, I’m not an idiot. I have a 4-year degree, professional credentials, and I wasn’t always an assistant. But I’m not a VP nor do I have an MBA. As the days have gone by, I’ve realized that regardless of my title here at my company, I have the responsibility to pass along my knowledge and be a positive role model. So I’m judicious in what I say, and what wisdom I pass along.
- Work hard. Show up. Do your job. Fulfill expectations.
- Don’t take advantage of people or the situation. You’re a grown up and no one is looking over your shoulder, do what you’re paid for.
- Be kind. Don’t look down on people who have lesser jobs. Recognize that not everyone has grown up with the privileges you have, and some of the people here are struggling with complicated lives. You never know where you will be in 10-years.
- No job is going to be exciting 100% of the time. Find the good. Figure out ways to make the job better.
- Be appreciative. If your company or boss value you and treat you well, repay that by working hard and giving them your best.
- I’m not going to tell you how to do your job. Take your life experience and make things your own. You Millennials are going to be running things before too long. Figure out how to make it better.
- Almost no one immediately lands in their dream job, and some people never find something that thrills them every day. Find ways to fulfill your dreams away from work. Volunteer, learn, live life.
- Think before you act. Don’t be impulsive when dealing with other people or beings. (Good grief – don’t adopt a puppy! Who will take care of it when you return to school?!)
- Your phone does more than text. Listen to voice mails, and return phone calls.
- Appreciate your parents. They did a helluva job raising you.
- Don’t miss your flight.
- Don’t get drunk on business trips, regardless of what everyone else does.
- Take advantage of the opportunities you’ve been given. Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t make the mistakes I made …
I honestly feel privileged that she looks to me for guidance. She’s a great young woman and her parents did a good job of raising her. I hope this work-aunt does a good job of sending her back to school in August with some positive experiences.