My first internship has taught me that leadership is bestowed upon those who take initiative. I guess “taught” is the wrong word because it’s kind of a common-sense concept, but my experience here has definitely reiterated it.
While the team of 3 Communications & Media interns here at TCFF answers to the festival’s Creative Director, Meg, we are mostly left to our own devices when it comes to dividing up tasks and coming up with new projects. When there wasn’t a constant stream of work, it was a race for who could check their email fast enough to get going on (and eventually get credit for) whatever assignment floated our way. Now that there are ample things to do, our task-dividing has become less of a contest of who can do the most, and more of a whoever-is-free at the moment system. Though that dynamic has shifted, a mentality of, “if you want to be involved, be the first one there” has remained present throughout.
I’m not trying to paint a picture of an unhappy workplace; PR functions well as a team and we have a good time together. The entire staff of TCFF is very willing to help each other out, so specific jobs and responsibilities mesh a lot of the time with various collaborations. Sometimes it can feel a little chaotic, but as a person who likes a fast-paced environment, I’ve found it pretty fun.
While we’re on the subject of scattered surroundings, this internship has also shown me is the value of adaptability in the workplace, as Public Relations depends a lot on external forces that are subject to change without warning. My only prior summer employment (other than nannying) was lifeguarding, which was often static and slow. You had to be prepared for anything, but hardly anything ever happened. Though I’m not worrying about a spontaneous life-or-death situation at TCFF, I work throughout the day knowing that my current project could suddenly fall second-tier to a different, more-immediate priority, or be scrapped altogether.
To get through the unpredictability of my schedule, I keep the big picture in mind. It’s easy to get caught up on a glitching webpage or a sudden change of plans, but letting setbacks be cause for panic or frustration is a dead-end mindset. Instead, I remember that every experience here is an opportunity for me to learn and grow, and that staying calm and collected is the best way to move forward. Hopefully I can keep this mentality throughout the festival next week!