No Small Assignments
It was brutal. The job, the building, the hours, the workload – oh and boring like claw your eyes out boring. At least that’s how I remember it. I’d go on to spend three months during the summer of my sophomore year of college interning in the advertising department of a newspaper.
It was one of my most memorable internships for a lot of reasons – but above all, I remember “Glenda.” She was the woman in charge of me. Each week she’d give me a new assignment, and my job was to write, and I mean write a lot, write for hours-on-hours every day. Oddly enough, most of the assignments I’d get were about four paragraphs long, and they never got printed in the paper.
So every week I’d have a new assignment to write. I had a couple of days to get a draft back to her. You’d think four paragraphs wouldn’t take much to write, but if I wrote four paragraphs, she’d have four pages of notes for me. Rewrite, rewrite, rewrite – Like I said it was boring especially since I knew they’d never get printed and the only one who cared was her.
So week after week I’d write these little pieces, and Glenda would hammer them with red marks. By the end of the week, I’d be done with one and on to the next. I couldn’t have scripted a more mind-numbing way to spend a summer. I’d go home and complain that I wasn’t getting anything out of the internship and all I’d do was write junk.
I was antsy to be done and ready to head back to school so I could really learn something. We exchanged pleasantries and wished me luck. Then she said she had something for me. It was everything I had written that summer, compete with every version and every set of changes. She told me to read the first one and then the last one. I did and couldn’t believe the difference. It was like a second grader had written the first one and the last one was nothing short of Shakespearean.
As I reminisce about Glenda and that internship, it is a great reminder that there are no small assignments. All the little ones can and will add up to something big. I think that’s one of the reasons I’ve been able to be successful. I treat every assignment like it’s the big one.