Part of being an associate at DFS Creative Concepts involves a lot of introspection throughout the process. It’s not just about the deliverables, it’s about the process. Each new addition is tasked with reflecting upon their first week (or so) with our company so that they can continue to grow not just as producers of excellent quality products, but as people. Because at the end of the day (I really need to get a new catch phrase), we care just as much (if not more) about what goes on inside our people than the great accomplishments they bring to the table.
Proud to bring to you Sydney and Becca. They’ll begin contributing to the #GirlBossBlog regularly, but for their intros. . . And to get to know them. . . Read below. And enjoy.
Sydney’s Reflection: First Week Wisdom
When I think of the word “intern,” I think of a coffee grabbing, errand running, copy-making guru who’s only purpose in the office is to do the busy-work of the higher ups. For a visual reference of what I’m talking about, watch “The Devil Wears Prada.”
So, when my lovely and amazing boss asked me to write a blog post about some things I learned during my first week as an intern, I was hesitant. All I could think was, “What could I possibly write about that anyone (other than my parents and grandparents) would willingly read or care about?”
But as soon as I stopped internally freaking out about what I was going to write about and actually began to listen, I realized that Dorothy is not only a source for fashion inspiration but also an outlet for receiving some insanely wise #girlboss wisdom.
So, between the wise musings of Dorothy Self and my own first week trial-and-error experiences, here are some little “tidbits” of advice for all of you aspiring interns out there:
1. Bring. A. Charger.
No seriously, bring one! Actually, bring two: One for your phone and one for your laptop. On my first day, I was on my phone pretty much all day researching our clients, looking at their Instagram’s, and becoming familiar with how we represent them on social media outlets. By 2:30p, my phone was surviving on 11% and had to somehow make it to 4:00…#yikes
Going off of #1…
1.5. Know who you’re working for:
This should be common sense…but I’ve included it as a ½ piece of advice, just in case! Research your clients. Research your employer. Research their old posts, blogs, articles, events…everything! Channel your inner Nancy Drew and just research away. The best way to impress your employer (and clients) is to be familiar with and know their brand.
2. Roll with the punches:
The night before my first day at DFS, my computer pulled a 2007 Britney Spears and had a complete meltdown. Needless to say, I had to take it to the Apple Store and get it repaired which left me stranded (without a computer) at an internship that relies almost entirely on having the technology to communicate, write and post updates for clients (talk about a great first impression…) But do you remember that “lovely and amazing” boss I mentioned earlier? She was nothing but understanding and accommodating for my lack of having the bare essentials. So, while things don’t always go your way (and rarely will they ever), the only thing that really matters at the end of the day is how you choose to handle those setbacks. Sometimes, the best reaction is no reaction at all. So, take a second. Pause. Breathe. And then get back to #werk.
3. It’s okay to be nervous:
Y’all…walking into the doors of DFS on my first day was single-handedly one of the scariest moments of my young life, so far. To describe it would be similar to the feeling you get right before you go down a roller-coaster. There is something so surreal and nerve-wracking about starting a new journey and steadily walking into the great unknown blindfolded (which is what I felt like I was doing). But this is normal – I promise! If you aren’t nervous, then it means you’re either not excited or passionate about it or have a lot more nerve than I do (in which case…please teach me your ways).
4. An internship is more than just a resume builder…
…it’s actually a learning opportunity! One thing Dorothy told me on my first day was: “I want you to grow as a person and I want you to have a voice.” And since that day, she has done just that and has given me countless opportunities to find my voice. In every task she assigns me, Dorothy explains why it needs to be done and how it’s helping our client. No social media strategy is just about a series of posts, but something that genuinely has an impact on the business’ overall messaging and brand. She also told me, “You’ve got to learn the foundations before you can learn how to construct the roof.” In other words, you have to learn how to walk before you can run. Not all internships are glamorous (however, in my case, I did luck out with interning at DFS Creative Concepts) but they do hold the potential for growth if you allow them to. Be open to the experience and seek wisdom from those who are already doing exactly what it is that you want to be doing.
5. You’re not just an intern:
The biggest piece of advice, in my opinion, that Dorothy gave me on my first day was: “Just because you’re an associate does not mean you are less worthy. You have stuff to bring to the table. If you’re smart, good, and do the right thing…you’re valuable.” In fact, she has never referred to me as an intern, but rather an associate (see above quote). So really, this post shouldn’t be about my first week as an intern, but instead my first week as an associate (*insert hair flip emoji*). So often, people get bogged down in the mundane nature of internships when, in reality, there is so much room for you to learn new things about yourself not only as a person, but as a future employee. To quote Dorothy (again), “Every star is different and shines differently…but every star still gives light, nonetheless.” No one star can light up the sky on its own, it takes a team of stars (a #StarSquad some would say). And no matter if you’re the biggest star in the sky or the smallest one, you still give light. You still have ideas. And you still matter.
6. Embrace every experience:
Take this opportunity to: learn, grow, watch, listen, ask questions, fail, and succeed. But most importantly, take this time to find your passions and to find yourself. Being an intern isn’t just a stepping stone to bigger and better things, but a building block to add to your foundation that allows you to strengthen who you are and where you’re going.
So with that take my ramblings, from one “associate” to another, and start your journey to the top…
…because you’ve totally got this
Becca’s Reflection: The Anatomy of DFS Creative Concepts
You take a deep breath and you walk through the doors, it’s the morning of your very first day. Okay, so for anyone who got my reference: no, your first day of ‘real’ work won’t be like your first day of high school. For anyone who didn’t get my reference, don’t sweat it, Taylor Swift is pretty much off the charts anyway. Now let’s get back to that first day of work thing.
A few weeks ago, I walked in to what many people, myself included, would consider my first “professional” job. What I thought was going to be cubicles and pantsuits turned out to be creativity and passion, and what I thought was going to be stressful and intimidating, has turned out to be the best part of my day.
Over the last few weeks I’ve discovered what it’s like to actually sit at a desk for most of a day, that it is in fact possible for me to consume 6 cups of chai tea during one day in the office, and that no matter how cute the heels are, they still pinch your feet (unfortunately). On top of all those tidbits, I’ve also learned my way around the DFS office specifically (literally and figuratively!), and I have been able to see what makes our ever-growing office press on and produce amazing work. And so, without further ado, I present to you the anatomy of DFSCC.
We’ll start with me, an associate. Hopefully one day I can say “started from the bottom now I’m here” but for now, I’m proud to be taking it in as an associate. There are a few other associates running around, but make no mistake, we aren’t just going on coffee runs and making copies.
Here at DFSCC, associates literally make up the “creative concepts” (CC) part of D F S C C. That’s why one of the skills an associate like us needs to hone in on is our creativity. Some other skills an associate like myself would be nowhere without are passion, and a sense of purpose. Without our passion, our work would be dull. We’d produce only to meet deadlines, and only to reach Fridays faster. Our passion for DFSCC, what we stand for, the media, our clients and effective communication is what fuels our work.
But what fuels our passion, you may ask? Feeling like we serve a purpose at DFSCC and like our work matters is what encourages us to go the extra mile and to give our clients and each other our very best, every day. And finally, what fuels our sense of purpose? Moving up to the top is where we have our biggest fan and our greatest motivator, Dorothy.
Okay okay, I know… every office has a boss. But not every office has a #GIRLBOSS!! Dorothy herself quite literally makes up the DFS part of DFSCC, and is the powerhouse herself. See, the office can sail or sink based off the quality of its leadership, and the presence of qualities such as character, commitment, and humility. Character is important to us at DFSCC because we are committed to truth and integrity within our work, and we believe honesty is the best policy. We are committed to not only our character, but also our work in general. We are determined to get it done, and get it done in style, and with confidence. Through all that confidence, it’s important to us to have a leader who is humble through it all. A great leader is one who is strong and decisive, but knows how to listen and how to recognize the value of others.
Since my first moments of my first day at DFSCC, my value has been recognized and my work has been praised, which has in turn made me work hard and be excited for what I am going to produce during my time here. Hopefully through my eyes you can start to see the cycle of leadership and associate, the qualities each party possesses to make this cycle spin, and the anatomy of the office here at DFSCC!