I’ve been lucky enough to get to know some pretty inspirational people over the last year and to work with so many influential and experienced people. One specific encounter comes to mind the most:
When I interned at the Mayor’s office, I remember when Helen reached out to the principals of the biggest PR firms in Salt Lake City to pick their brains on how to market a specific policy the city was going to pursue. When I actually sat in the meeting taking scrupulous notes, I remember how astonished I was with how SMART everyone was. Not the wordy or know-it-all smart, where they say something that you know nothing about that makes you go, “WTF?” But the kind of overwhelming smart where they have this kind of critical thinking skill set and can see the bigger picture – It’s really hard to explain, but I just remember them offering completely insightful suggestions that I never would have thought of, yet I feel like I could have been able to think of it if I were more open-minded. Or they would ask super thoughtful questions that open up more doors and more possibilities, questions that never would have come to mind for me.
This is my life now. It’s mind-blowing to be working with so many sharp and experienced people. I remember feeling extremely frustrated when I would draft a survey and my manager would revise the whole thing so much that it’s not even my work anymore. I recall stumbling on my words whenever I’d present anything. Until now, I still get tons of feedback on my work about where it can be improved and what it’s missing. But what’s kind of neat to me is that there are times when I’M the one who can give insightful feedback on my co-workers’ projects, and they ask ME for advice on how to make something they’ve been slaving over a little shinier.
I do feel like I’m making progress. I can write reports a little quicker and receive them after a review from my manager with a little less red pen all over it. I can speak a lot more proficiently and I don’t get nervous when I have questions anymore because I never have stupid questions, haha. I’m learning that the impressive critical thinking skill set that I saw a little under a year ago is something that is attained over time, not something that comes with your degree or that you’re born with. Maybe I’ll become one of those “smart people” someday and blow a little intern away with my intellect, haha. It’s kind of exciting to feel like I’m starting to develop that skill set and that I’m still advancing intellectually even though I’m out of school. I would really like to go back – depending on the way conversations with my bosses go over the next couple of months, I might start my Master’s in Predictive Analytics at Northwestern University! I somewhat considered pursuing a Masters in Econ, but I never thought I’d go into market research. It’s kind of funny how life surprises you sometimes. 🙂