This blog reflects on life at work at comments on the latest news that shapes my 9-5 working day in a Corporate Communications consultancy.

About Me

I am a born and bred South African who has always loved to read and write. As a child my mother used to read to me and my siblings, from classics like the “Lord of the Rings” but later also from her own stories. She would write children’s stories and then use us as her test audience, but I loved to hear what she had written long after my siblings had tired of it. So I grew up in an environment of reading and writing, which inspired my love of these things. I hope to write a great book some day, and have learnt first hand the determination and will that it takes. My love of English inspired me to continue my study of it at university. I majored in Law and English in a BA degree at UCT where I found that I took to English much more than law. I enjoyed learning about South Africa’s history and the development of our liberal Constitution, which increasingly made me committed to the hope this country has for the future. Ideally, I’d like to find myself in a job where I am able to write; that allows a good mix of time spent with people and being able to work on my own.

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Being a great intern

This week, we’ve been discussing our expectations of being a new employee or an intern in a company as well as the employers’ expectations. Being in the world of work is all about being able to present yourself in a confident way. In the movie "The Pursuit of Happyness", Will Smith plays Christopher Gardner, an intern in a stock- broking firm. Chris is the example of a near-perfect intern. When he delivers his application form, he makes sure it is personally handed over to the boss. He knows that he is just one of many applicants and makes sure he is not simply another name on another piece of paper. And by the time he reaches his interview, he has impressed the firm sufficiently so that they are prepared to accept him even though he arrives, due to unavoidable circumstances, in paint-stained overalls.

Once he gets his internship position, he is one of a large group. But he continues to make sure that he is not just a face. He always makes the coffee. He always runs errands even at great cost to himself. And everyone knows his name. Most importantly, he goes on coming to work with a smile on his face, despite personal circumstances that are extremely difficult. By the time the firm needs to select an intern from the group as an employee, Chris is able to greet every member of his panel by name. No wonder they chose him for the job. Chris was prepared to do whatever it took to reach his dream. As he tells his son, “You want something. Go get it. Period.” With this attitude, he was able to triumph. We can all learn something from him about how to stand out in the crowd and get the job of our dreams.


Celeste said...

Hi Susan

You have made me so keen to go to the video store and get the movie. I was so sad that I missed the opportunity to watch that movie on cinema. I'm off to make a cup of coffee for my boss :)



Celeste said...

Oh, and by the way, good job on the blog. I love the background you chose. Have fun playing around. There are some interesting things you can do with your blog.



Elspeth said...

Hi Susan,

Great idea to use the movie as another entry point into being an intern.

Remember his comments about making the coffee and always wearing a smile - a recent issue of the BBC Good Food magazine had interviews with interns in the food industry and that was something almost all of them said: "Make the coffee and smile, smile, smile!!!"



Ijeoma Uche-Okeke said...

Hello Susan, this just sums up everything we've been told in the past week and this week. I saw the movie and was really inspired by his perseverance through really impossible hardship! Thank you for putting this on your blog. I can see you are a really introspective thinker.

Temi.adewunmi said...

Susan, i like your blog on the film,"in pusuit of happiness". I believe you will make a good movie colunmist for a magazine. Your summary was vivid. Keep it up. A typo error in happiness though.cheers

Susan Arthur said...

Hi everyone
Thanks so much for your positive feedback on this post. It's great to get comments.
Just to point out, though, "Happyness" wasn't a typo, that's what the film is called.