With a daughter in college now, I have seen shifts in how things work from when I went to school. Colleges have far more focus on “field experiences and internships” now. My college roommate had an internship, but she was one of very few that had one. Now there are many more opportunities to get those experiences and the students are “highly encouraged” to do them. Part of it is to discern if they are going to be happy in the field of study that they have chosen and if it is a good fit for them. It is also much more competitive to get a good job and it definitely helps to have a resume started with these experiences when they graduate.
It also gives them the experiences to see where there are problems to solve and gaps that need to be addressed. I watched this video of the CEO of WAY UP – Liz Wessel . Her story really struck me as pretty interesting for a number of reasons. She had the opportunity to learn what she wanted by taking on the internships. Her first was something that she determined wasn’t an area of passion for her. This led her to a second one that gave her the opportunity to not only do what she liked, but showed her a gap that she could solve. She discovered that she really enjoyed marketing and was offered a job at Google. There are so many people her age that would love to work there. In the interview, she told them that she would take the job for two years and would then be leaving to start her own company. Google agreed and she took the job.
Many of us would never have dreamed of saying that in an interview. She was willing to take a risk to ask for what she wanted and be able to focus on her passion. She had a lot of confidence and knew that she would provide value to Google for two years before moving on to start her own company. The company she started is solving the problem that she found while on her internship. Watch the video link above to see what she is doing with her company.
There are lessons that we all can learn from her experience. Think about her story in terms of your own career. Do you know the value that you are providing? Are you looking at your own company’s challenges and finding a solution? Are you in a role that is bringing you passion? Are you taking risks and asking for what you want?