My First Mess-up | #2

In this post, I talk about my first mess-up in the law office at which I work.  I admit this may sound trivial to a reader–it certainly does to me now–but I lost at least a few minutes of sleep over it. I hope others who read can learn from my mistake!

During my first week at my internship at the Florida State Attorney’s Office, I was introduced to many new faces, all of whom had names. In fact, those faces still have those very same names, which is where my problem lies. A few days into the internship, a secretary in the office asked me to deliver a file to an attorney named Linda. The name Linda was still spinning somewhere in the clutter of names without any secure attachment to a face. With the foolish confidence of a new intern, I walked up to the first person I saw and asked, “Excuse me–would you happen to know where Linda is?”, to which she replied, “I am Linda.” This was pretty awkward at first, but I was fortunately able to get over this awkwardness and develop a good working relationship with Linda.

I’m sure everyone meets a lot of new people in the first days of their internship, and if I can offer any advice, it would be to really listen and pay attention when people tell you their names, rather than just going through the motions. Obviously, though, it’s impossible for most of us to memorize every piece of information presented to us, which makes my second piece of advice the following: if you are looking for a person whose name you do not know, ask someone, whose name you do know, who that person is.

Colton K.

Class of 2020 @UM. Interning at the Florida State Attorney's Office in Tampa, FL for the summer of 2018.

One thought on “My First Mess-up | #2

  • July 24, 2018 at 3:45 pm

    Thanks for sharing, Colton! This is a very good story, because it is humorous (I’m glad you could joke about it after the initial embarrassment), insightful, and totally relatable! I feel like all professionals have at least one story like this. It demonstrates how important personal relationships are to our work. None of us work in a vacuum and those other humans (with faces and names) are important to know, even though it never seems like a top priority when you first start a job. I have learned that I am terrible at remembering names, so I started a practice that I continue at every new job, and even into the job. I keep a running list of with the names of every single person I meet, and any defining characteristics or tidbits of information they share with me. Later I google them (organizations often have a webpage with pictures, names, and job titles). Then (this sounds dorky but it totally works) I create flashcards and memorize them. It has served me very well and people are often impressed when I call them by their name and ask them about something we chatted about. Although I’m sorry you had a “mess-up” it seems like you’ve learned a lot from it. That is what summer internships are all about!


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