Vulnerability within Internships

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-is-our-most-accurate-measurement-of-courage

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.

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5 thoughts on “Vulnerability within Internships

  1. Tyler, You had a really good post. I like how you talked about your internship this past summer and how you felt vulnerable. I can relate because I had similar feelings during my time at my internship. Its pretty hard jumping right into serious job at our age but its just as hard to jump into an internship. I think its great how you you overcame these feelings at the internship and how it will ultimately help you in the future. Great post.

  2. Tyler,
    I completely understand where you’re coming from regarding being nervous around professionals you hope to impress. I have four different majors/certifications I’m working on before I leave for a career and I still feel like I don’t get taken seriously. Professional interviews truly scare me because I don’t feel confident in myself to approach them with confidence that they need me instead of vice versa. I think we need to realize that we set ourselves up to be successful and trust that we and our employers know that in order to continue succeeding in our careers.

  3. Tyler,
    I know what your going through with vulnerability with internships. It can be so stressful these days trying to find internships, and performing the best you can once you find the job you want. I think thats awesome how much you learned from this experience.

  4. Tyler,
    I loved reading your piece about the work world! I think starting a new job/ internship in general causes a lot of vulnerability and uncertainty and can be really hard for people who don’t know how to deal with it. When utilized correctly, being vulnerable means you are open to more learning and experiences and is so helpful! But I often also see a lot of people close up more, and unfortunately that can really hurt you in the workforce. Congrats on the internship!

    1. Thanks Kelsey. It was a great learning experience and I felt that my sense of vulnerability only helped me learn more.

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