Overview: As many of you may already know from my introduction blog post, this summer I had an exciting internship at Everlast. Everlast is a leading brand in the manufacturing of fight sports and fitness equipment and apparel. Being an intern is always a great opportunity to learn from employees with experience and knowledge in a certain field. At Everlast, I was working with the sports marketing team. Since I am pursuing this field of interest, this internship was perfect for me. However, being an intern, in general, and specifically at this largely popular brand, comes with a sense of vulnerability.
Vulnerability within Internships: When you are an intern at any company, you are almost always the low man on the totem pole. In other words, your voice is last to be heard, including ideas, suggestions, and comments. This can tough for people who may be more vulnerable than others. As Bréne Brown describes it, “vulnerability is at the core of difficult emotions”. However, it is also “the birthplace of love and belonging, joy, creativity and innovation, adaptability to change and accountability”. Therefore, when an intern’s voice is last to be heard, this sense of vulnerability creates the feeling of belonging within the organization’s culture, and can therefore help the intern further learn and succeed. In addition to Brown’s words, there are many more inspiring and interesting quotes about vulnerability that can be seen here.
My Vulnerability Experience: The culture at Everlast was very open and relaxed. As long as you got your work done on time, there were never any problems with having fun doing so. I developed a good relationship with the several employees I was working closest with. However, the director of marketing, which all the employees I was working with had to report to, was more of a stickler. I did not have as close a relationship with him as I did with others, which ended up not being a bad thing. I was happy with this type of culture, as I felt a sense of belonging, duty, and worthiness.
The director of marketing’s perfectionist attitude enabled myself and other employees to be held accountable. This provided myself with a feeling of connection, and I was able to be my authentic self. When my internship was coming to an end, I wanted to ask the director for a reference that I could keep for future use. This moment came upon me fast and I felt fearful to approach him, as he was always very busy. I felt vulnerable in this situation, but I knew it would be worth it in the end, and in fact, I just had to do it.
After I accomplished this, I felt relieved and joyful and I knew it was worth it in the end. My sense of vulnerability shadowed over me the entire summer I was interning with Everlast. However, my vulnerability has only helped me grow as a person and in my hopes for a successful professional career. Being vulnerable has taught me to think outside the box, be more courageous, and adapt to whatever situation lies ahead of me.
Conclusion: Overall, my vulnerability experience has only helped me. I have learned that within an organizations culture, vulnerability is a must. The organization cannot evolve without the employees feeling a sense of vulnerability and accountability. Employees thrive in a situation where they can be themselves but are also held accountable for their actions through a sense of vulnerability. The following article from Forbes does a great job in describing the importance of vulnerability within organizations. Check it out here.