I've got it all together but I don't know where I put it
We have two wonderful summer interns, and I am their supervisor. I am slightly uncomfortable when I hear them call me their boss. Boss? Really? Don’t know what else they should call me. Fearless Leader? Professional Guide? Professor Kenny? Aunt Col?
I am enjoying the role, and am humbled by it.
In recent years, I have been labeled by the corporate world as an “individual contributor.” That basically means I “report” to a honcho and nobody “reports” to me. I would say 50% of what I accomplish comes from my own distilled brain juice. The other half comes from me working with others and using my influence to create positive outcomes for my company.
Some people get off on the status of having a big title and/or legions of underlings. At one point I cared about that too. But no mas. Right now, the benefit of having protégés is the teaching and learning experience. The give and take, the back & forth. Like all relationships, the interaction serves as a mirror … showing you what you love, what you don’t love, what you’re good at, what you’re bad at … where you could actually tweak something and improve.
I’ve noticed that my directions aren’t always clear and I change my mind often. From the looks on their faces, I know I am driving them nuts. It’s inevitable. I’ve been on the other side of that mirror for years and years wondering why why, why can’t they tell me what they want? Why can’t they be more clear? Why do they change their minds 50 times?
It’s a lesson I guess we all just have to learn the hard way. When working with others, clarity never comes easy. Over time, though, when circumstances are right and people stay committed, a functioning language emerges. Progress comes more quickly and the work/life itself develops a sense of ease. Then, if you’re really lucky, your brilliant interns stay forever.