24 Jul On Reading Minds
Well, what does that mean?
It means to do things without being asked. In the context of me as a kid, he was talking about loading the dishwasher and cleaning up crumbs on the table, even if I hadn’t been the one to leave them. But he was also trying to teach me a life skill- if you see something that needs to be done, go ahead and do it.
How crumbs happen
Before beginning work at Iconic, I decided that to maximize the potential opportunity of the internship, I would do all that I could to be a helpful, productive part of the workplace. I figured that this would allow more opportunities for me to learn more about the business, and polish my skills in whatever it might be that I was doing.
But there’s a problem.
There’s not always a clear task or goal; sometimes you will be told to simply ‘work’. Luckily, at Iconic, there was usually a pretty good task list compiled for me to get working on, and plenty of Celtic punk music to get me through it. But sometimes you don’t have access to a list or Celtic punk. Sometimes you have to settle for your gut and Spanish boy bands, instead.
For example, there was a guy who was a lifeguard at a local pool that I attended. At pools, there are sunny days where all lifeguards are attentive and watching to keep the pool safe, and there are stormy days when there is nobody in the pool to watch. Most of the lifeguards would sit back and relax when the clouds came and the masses began their exodus from the poolside, but this guy would go out and pick the weeds that had snuck into the cracks between concrete slabs. If all of the weeds were picked, he would skim the water. If the weeds were picked and the water skimmed, he would sweep. Anything to give the pool goers a better experience.
And it wasn’t that it was his favorite thing to do; it wasn’t that he just LOVED to clean. See, this guy didn’t think of himself as just a lifeguard. He thought of himself as a worker devoted to the prosperity of the pool.
He was a mind-reader. Not only did he ask himself, ‘what would my employers want to see done in this situation’ he asked himself ‘what would make the customers feel more comfortable?’ And he read their minds, subsequently applying what he learned from venturing inside their psyche.
The next year, while most of the lifeguards from the previous summer sat back earning their $8.50 an hour, this guy picked, skimmed, and swept, and earned $15.00 an hour as a manager. Just goes to show, mind-reading or rather, taking initiative, has its benefits.
So, as you travel through the unexplored slopes of the “Internsian Peninsula”, remember to think of how you can benefit the company you are serving. Devote some real thought to it, too. Your employer will notice, and it will pay off later. And even if your employer weren’t to notice, you’d have improved your work ethic and skill set, which are both invaluable.
To reach where you want to be, in whatever you do, you must work hard, and you must take initiative. Whether it’s picking up a piece of trash, pulling the weeds by the poolside, or taking the extra step to format a document in the way it’s easiest for your employer to read, acting with initiative will have a positive impact on your work experience every time.