“The CEO of the company was telling me about the things he enjoyed doing when he was my age.” Ask yourself, how many interns are able to say they had the opportunity of working alongside their CEO every day? It would be great to say a large number of interns have that opportunity, but realistically speaking that is not the case. When I was in the interview process for an internship at Pablow Inc. I did some research to get an overview and was not too impressed. I was not impressed because I realized they were a small startup founded in 2015 that had just 3 employees and when googling “Pablow”, Miley Cyrus kept appearing as the first link. My mindset changed completely once I started the internship.
Refurbishing Corporate Culture
This internship was full time summer internship; however, I did not have to be in the office by 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. (even though I was, because I’m a morning person). The culture here at Pablow allows you to manage yourself as long as job duties were done in the required time period. Imagine being told you get to manage yourself, I tried my best to respect that privilege and never show up as if I just rolled out of bed. We were allowed play music and there was always a bit of fun involved throughout the week. It was nice being able to have a laid-back environment, but more than anything it was a learning experience for me. When you treat people right and provide a unique working environment, you’ll find that they enjoy going to work. Throughout the period of my internship there was not one day where I didn’t want to go to work, I was ready to see what was in store for the day. Along with these fun perks it also led me to understanding how I can be a leader by respecting the self-management privilege I was given.
Be a Leader
I was fortunate to have worked on projects for Pablow where I was able to lead them in the way that I thought was best. One of the things I remember was when Steve, CEO of Pablow said, “Whoever suggests something, make sure you’re the one to lead.” It’s difficult to learn when you are being micro managed or being help step by step. Look at it as a child, if you try to keep them from getting hurt every moment, they will never learn. When Dylan, VP of sales and marketing, assigned my projects for the summer I felt overwhelmed. I was two days into my internship and already had been assigned projects that would last me the whole summer. There were five projects assigned, and I had complete control from beginning to end. I set timelines, determined the approach and led team meetings to complete the projects. This taught me how I should not fear to take initiative and set a standard for others to follow.
There are many traits and characteristics that describe a leader. Leaders are able to find a balance in certain situations, listen to others, and ask questions. “He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes, he who does not ask a question remains a fool forever.” I tried not to ask odd questions for the most part, but because I have little to zero knowledge about the travel industry there were a lot of questions that I had to ask my team members. Of course, to them it was probably old news, but they were very helpful and motivated me to learn more. You can never stop learning, no matter what the subject is. This led me to learning tools that I can use in the future.
Figuring out the tools
There are many software tools that businesses utilize that students don’t have the opportunity to learn since everything you need to know for your career apparently is in a textbook. In this internship, I was able learn and eventually use software tools that I had no experience with for business purposes. This was a fun learning experience seeing how a business can use tools such as Survey Monkey, MailChimp, Canva, and Asana. The best part of all this is that this business is a start-up, you can make it what you want it to be. These projects are an ongoing process, which I believe is great because you can see the improvement. For example, I was developing a customer satisfaction survey, which I predicted I would have done in two days or so. I was wrong, there’s more to it than just listing a couple questions on a survey. I had to look at it from two different viewpoints; the goal was to develop a survey efficient for the customer and valuable for Pablow. It took some time and toying around to understand these different software tools, but there was always help from team members if needed. When I first arrived at Pablow, Dylan made it clear that at Pablow things would be transparent. This provided me with a sense of comfort knowing that there would be honesty, which is great to have when it comes to working with others.
Growing up there were movies or television series where interns were seen taking lunch orders, filing documents, or cleaning. Fortunately, it seems like that stigma has been buried (at least with Pablow) and interns are learning and being compensated. I can honestly state that not once did I have to go get coffee for Steve, and I spent my time learning and contributing to Pablow. I am very fortunate to have had the great opportunity of working alongside talented individuals such as Steve, Dylan, Jay and Michael. The freedom I was given allowed me to take initiative and determine how valuable I can be as an individual. I was fortunate to have obtained such a great, motivating and fun learning experience. The beginning was a bit overwhelming, but with time, patience, and confidence it all ended just fine with many successful completed projects. I’m happy and fortunate to say I interned at a startup company rather than a corporate firm. This is an experience I would not trade for anything else and I hope to keep supporting the startup community in any way possible.