Because I am writing this blog post as an intern heading into his senior year of college, I think it’s important to share perspective that may guide those who are or may someday be in similar shoes.
College students are routinely asked what we want to do when we graduate. For me, that has been nearly impossible to answer directly. I’m passionate about a lot of things, but to pick just one? That would be limiting my sphere of possibilities. I think to answer this question, I needed to remember what I wanted when I was encouraged to dream big. I needed to be 5 years old again.
I never imagined myself sitting behind a desk all day working your standard 8-5 dead-end job. Knowing this about myself helped open my search for an awesome internship. Instead of using a filter like this to limit my search, it instead made me focus in on finding what was right for me.
I went to a job/internship fair at my school filled with successful companies from many industries with talented people to represent them. Spoiler alert! I wasn’t hooked. They all looked like treadmills to me. I was afraid working at these companies would be like running in place. The internships looked safe, standard and dry. I know myself well enough that if I wasn’t changing or being challenged, I wasn’t growing.
I called my brother, who lives in Nashville, and told him I wanted something that made me uncomfortable. I wanted to be forced to think differently. I needed an environment that welcomed challenges, revered success and embraced failure as part of growth.
He told me about redpepper, an ad agency that challenges the status quo. I was immediately intrigued, but I had no experience that related to advertising or marketing.
Fast forward and I have now completed a month of interning for redpepper. I work as a Lab intern and love what I do. In the lab, we rapidly solve problems and release prototypes of our ideas to the market to generate a response. Some products and ideas are fantastic, others are more fun than functional. However, it is necessary to challenge our creative limits in order to stay in touch with consumers by measuring the immediate response of putting something raw online for others to judge. Our innovative ideas are no accident. They are a result of nurturing our inspirations and creatively testing the limits of technology and problem solving. This keeps everyone encouraged to share their inspirations and ideas.
On top of the lab, I have been working with my manager to seek visibility in our growing agency. How might we measure our growth in a way that allows us to make better decisions in the future?
I’m not from Nashville. I had no experience in advertising and marketing, but I am willing to try something new and push myself to think differently. Thankfully, I found redpepper.
Jack Gordon, Lab Intern
Sioux Falls, SD