Christian Ross


I have an intern. She started today. She doesn’t really have a set schedule, she doesn’t get paid and she’s only around for a couple of weeks but I now have an intern.

It was a little weird sitting down with her today to converse about what she currently knows, what she wants to learn and what she wants to do post-baccalaureate. She will graduate from a major university in 3 year’s time with a 4.0 GPA. She really doesn’t know much about my industry but I hope to at least get her a glimpse over the next couple of weeks. We’ll see.

Since I don’t regularly drink coffee that option is off the table for things to provide her to do. Other than that I’m not really sure.

After explaining to me that she’d like to explore the creative end of what I do I sent her out with a mission. Armed with my camera her goal is to take pictures. I don’t care what she takes pictures of – rocks, people, rain or cars – it doesn’t matter to me. All that matters to me is that she takes pictures. Lots of them. In the hundreds. I am hoping this will help us both to see where her creativity lies. I want to see what she sees when she looks at something.

Her other assignment is to find me websites that look good. I gave her some categories to focus on hoping to get her to understand subtle differences in how websites can be built/displayed. I want to find out what she thinks looks good.

In my 3.5 years of client work, one of the few absolutes I have come to figure out is that everyone is a designer. The problem lies in the fact that just because everyone is a designer doesn’t mean that everyone is a good designer or even has good taste. I want to find out what my intern’s tastes are like.

In my 3.5 years of client work, one of the few absolutes I have come to figure out is that everyone is a designer.

So as I sit her reviewing our conversation in my head, I wonder if I started her on the right foot? Where would you start your intern if you had one? Would you have given your intern assignments? Would you be more structured with yours than I am with mine?

My hope is to impart some knowledge of this business – in two weeks – and start her off on the right foot. Before too long she is going to need to know what direction she wants to head with her career. Big firm? Small firm? Independent consultant? Web related? Print? Video? Lots of directions to go and decisions to make.

I’d also like to impart on her the importance of controlling your presence both online and off. Stored-data makes it far too easy to bring unfortunate events, actions, personalities and situations to light. Those random party pics on your MySpace or negative swipe on a random blog’s comment system can come back to haunt you at the most inopportune time. Creating a positive presence for yourself and others to see can help you make the right first impression even before you get the first opportunity.

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