Janel Abrahami, Steinhardt ’14, shared her #InternConfessions back in the summer of 2013. Here is her advice on socializing at a summer internship.
Janel Abrahami is a rising senior at NYU’s Steinhardt School, majoring in Applied Psychology and minoring in Media, Culture, and Communication. She is interning in the communications department of an Israeli skin care company in Tel Aviv this summer.
One of the most important things to be aware of when first starting at a new internship is the company culture. Are you working with a team that often goes out to lunch together, or do they bring food back to their desks to keep working? Do they share stories about their weekends, or keep conversations strictly professional? Each company and department has a different nuanced social code, so be perceptive from the start in order to get the feel for your team’s structure.
Once you’ve figured out the social climate and you’re ready to jump in, heed this rule of thumb: when first socializing at your internship, try to carry yourself one step more professionally than the rest of the team. Start making non-work-related conversations carefully and at times when co-workers are not busy, like in between meetings or in the company kitchen. Friendly and approachable can still be professional, and good supervisors will make you feel like part of the team from the get-go.
Like the winter holidays, summer is a prime time for company gatherings: potluck lunches and barbeques among the most popular this time of year. If you’re invited to one of these gatherings in advance, it would be nice to contribute something to show that you are invested in the team and grateful to be there. Keep it simple but thoughtful: desserts and finger-foods are virtually fail-proof. If you’re interning in the city, excellent desert options include Baked by Melissa and Billy’s Bakery.
After setting out your BBQ contribution, get ready to socialize! These get-togethers are meant to be asides from daily work conversations, so feel free to talk about your other interests, hobbies, passions, and weekend plans- just keep the language work-appropriate (and check for food in your teeth)!