WORKPLACE SUCCESS / 30 July 2019How to Deal with a Toxic Work Environment
This was me last year. Tim, the 1st year business major. Proud owner of a 2.7 GPA, 8 college courses, and a cheesy smile. As you can imagine, trying to find an internship was tough. So when I got a phone call from ProSky, telling me I’d landed their social media internship, I was stoked. But it wasn’t a cakewalk, here’s everything that happened before the call.
Wednesday, April 15, 7 AM:
Woke up, got dressed, and walked to the Startup Career Fair. Last year, I was involved in a club called Cal Poly Entrepreneurs and we hosted our first Startup Career Fair that day. I was in charge of running the show and keeping the event afloat.
Finished setting up for the event. Got some time to look over the companies attending and marked the ones that offered internships for business majors. Did some research on those companies and marked the really interesting ones.
Company reps and students started piling into the event space. Closed down my computer and got ready for the real deal.
The last of the students left. Companies were getting lunch and packing up. I talked to half of the companies on my interest list and only a few were hiring first years. I was still internship-less. Next company on the list: ProSky. I read through the job descriptions for their social media and PR internships, and they seemed great. I did some more research, then noticed something: these guys went through the 500 Startups accelerator! It might not sound like much, but to a startup junkie like me, working for a 500 company is like Indiana Jones finding the holy grail. Interning for them wasn’t an option anymore; it was a necessity.
I walked excitedly to the table where they were supposed to be and, lo and behold! No one was there. I couldn’t let this golden opportunity slip through my hands, so I asked around about the ProSky reps. A friend mentioned that they walked out to the parking lot a few minutes ago, and I made a dead sprint towards the door.
I was standing in the parking lot in front of two ProSky reps, huffing, puffing, and out of breath. I explained that I loved their company, valued their insight, and would love to intern for them over the summer. The reps (Alexis and Matt) turned out to be real friendly people and were open to hiring first years! After I closed with “How can we keep in touch?”, they said they’d be on campus later that night for a workshop. This was my chance to shine.
Back in the event space, a mentor read over my resume and suggested edits that fit with the internship description and company culture. After making the edits, I did some more research on ProSky and took another look at my resume. Again, I tailored it closer to ProSky’s needs, printed out a few copies, and went home to continue the long day.
I arrived early to the (fantastically designed) workshop with 2 resumes and an outfit to impress any recruiter. There, I found out that Alexis would be overseeing the internships. I made sure to ask her about the internship details, hand over my newly adjusted resume, and snag a business card. Score!
Thursday, April 16, 9:00 PM:
The next morning, I sent a cheesy follow-up email to Alexis. She replied, and I made sure to follow up again in 2 weeks.
We sent some more emails back and forth. Eventually, Alexis set up a phone interview with me. This was the final test. If you want to know how I practiced for my interview, the link’s right here. A few weeks later, I got the call and everything else is history. Moral of the story: hustling takes you far. You don’t need a 4.0 to land that dream internship. All you need is the drive and determination to stand out. And the best way to do that? Just get started.