I had the privilege of being a supervisor for a pair of interns this summer, for an organization I volunteer at. While some people may groan and fuss about having to watch a couple of college students all summer, I found it exceptionally rewarding.
Mostly because they were fresh faces with fresh perspectives on things in life. It was really great to get to know them as individuals and see where their strengths and talents lie.
For example, our first meeting we simply got to know each other and our personality types. We talked about our astrological signs, our Enneagram numbers and whether we side more on the introvert or extrovert side. So the first impression was that everyone understood where each person was, self-honestly, and from there I got to determine what type of work I could give them, where they could thrive.
Of course, this was a learning process, as I first started to give the male intern work on graphic design because he was more of the art type who had a love of the finer things in life. However, I saw that I was excluding the opportunity for the female intern to take on the job too, so I then decided to assign her some tasks with graphic design. I knew she and I discussed beforehand that she never really worked with graphics, but lo and behold, after much tinkering around, she designed some pretty amazing things and I think became proud of herself.
Eventually though as shit started to hit the fan between me and my co-founder in regards to finances and drama at the location we were at, I started to see our unit as a family. A family that needs to stay strong and stable amidst the turmoil going on. I soon started to see the interns as children. Where my co-founder and I were like the parents and that the emotions and shit we were experiencing towards things happening on the outside, could seep into our relationship with the interns.
Eventually, it got to the point where I had to became the sole ‘parent’ or person who had to keep everything together and became entirely responsible for the ‘kids’/interns. It was no fun and I still have to deal with reactions with this point, but I could really see the intrinsic responsibility that comes forth when you allow people to work with you and walk with you in your life, that you see every day. That they (the interns) started to pick up on subtleties and changes going on between me and my co-founder and started to ask about it.
I then took the liberty of being honest and direct with what was going on behind the scenes, in a way that didn’t reveal everything but enough for them to understand the stuff that can happen in an organization. And from this, I also realized the importance of the co-founders needing to stick together, but also the truth that: running a business or organization with a friend may not be the best idea. It certainly is not working for me.
I also realized for myself, after many mistakes, that I am best to do projects alone, by myself, being my own boss and CEO. This has inspired me to take on a new venture/project that is currently in the making, that is more aligned to me. Where no one is boss except me.
So, to sum this all up – when you take responsibility for a set of interns, my suggestion is to realize you are responsible for them in a way, similar to a parent, in that they do look up to you for guidance and instruction. They still have a lot of learning in life (as we all do), but since you are the supervisor, you need to consider who you are, your actions, and how you handle things – especially when shit hits the fan. Would you like the interns to take on these characteristics you’ve been displaying and have them apply it later in their life? Because that’s how supervisors are supposed to act?
For example, when shit hits the fan are you going to freak out in front of everyone or are you going to sit down and start brainstorming for solutions? This is what I had to do because I had no choice. I could not show the interns that being and feeling defeated in the face of the system and giving up on the organization is the way to go. You have to keep moving on until you tested all options and see that it is best in the end. Overall it’s important that you show your interns, or whoever is with you, to not give up. Even if that means you have to take on a load for a while until things settle down.
I could not have come to such stability and drive for solutions if it were not for the Desteni tools and community. I truly believe walking my process with them made me become a more pragmatic, practical, less emotional, and commonsensical person.
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