How to play your time as an intern like a sweet, sweet trumpet solo over the smooth jazz of the daily grind at redpepper

 (for times when actually playing the trumpet would disturb the peace)

redpepper is an interesting place. In the first few weeks it can feel like it’s hard to find your groove or any sort of routine, but just embrace it. Let the strange rhythms guide you in the everyday jazz of the office. Let them lead you to find your own path of discovery and your own form of success. Soon enough you’ll develop your own solo style that brings something to the redpepper team.

Don't be afraid to improvise, explore and scat at random.
First and foremost, let your creativity shine and have fun with it. One thing you’ll learn fairly early on is that there isn’t really one way of doing anything at redpepper, which leaves you free to make your own rules—whether that is with where you sit, whom you reach out to for potential collaboration, or what hours work for you. Use your time on projects at redpepper to explore related interests and make the most of your internship.


Know when to utilize a mute.
Understand the importance of the little things and places you can help out in the office, even if they aren't fancy tasks. A lightly funky but consistent background jam can make a big difference. In some cases you may feel like you aren't working on anything major, but just remember that everything you help out with can have some kind of impact in the overall workings of the office.


Open the floor to other soloists.
Do your best to support anyone and everyone. Look for opportunities to help out on a wide variety of projects that feature different leaders of the redpepper team to find the best ways to help out, even if that means just helping by taking down notes or pulling together tons of info during tankfilling sessions. This also means being available to help out fellow interns on any given task. 

Generally make noise, put yourself out there and be present.
Get in the mix, let people know what you’re interested in and always put together options for whatever you’re asked to do just to show your versatility and willingness to learn and grow. Even if you’re not involved on a particular project you can still help out by anticipating what might be needed and putting things together. Don’t hesitate to reach out to peppers outside of your mentors that interest you for projects that you could be a part of or even just to observe their process. Along those lines…

Listen carefully and don't get in your own head too much.
You never know what opportunities might pop up if you just happen to be listening at the right moment. Keep an open mind and don’t overlook little details that might resurface as useful in the future. Moreover, if you’re listening and open you’re better able to anticipate needs and fill your time when you haven't necessarily been asked to do anything in particular. This internship is for you and so you have to take the initiative to make the most of it and the most tailored to your interests. 

My time as a Design Services intern has taught me a lot. With just a few weeks left at redpepper, my biggest takeaway is that I’ve learned to get out there and break it down, really go to town and not be afraid of laying down some real clams every once in a while—it’s the best way to develop and happen upon your own opportunities for growth. 


Julia Mahre, Design Services Intern, Hopkinsville, KY