a child and you are in the car with your parents. And you have the
most important, pressing question you have ever thought of stuck in
your mind. It is almost numbing. It's an obsession on the brink of
taking you over.
"Are we there yet?"
Then you get that same old look from
your parents, the one you will probably give your own children at
some point in your life. And their answer always stays the
"We're almost there."
It's almost mind blowing when you
realise that having the answer doesn't change how you feel. You
just want to ask again. You just want to be a little bit of a nag.
In five minutes you know you'll ask again. And by then your dad
will probably scream out 'Serenity now! Serenity now!' like Frank
Costanza in Seinfeld.
As an intern, one of the first things
I'm quickly trying to learn is the right balance between being
proactive and being a nag. I'm constantly asking myself, what is
the point of my question? Am I coming off as a restless thorn in
the side? And, if I don't ask any questions, does it look like I'm
not using my initiative?
When I talked about this with my dad,
his reaction was bemusing. 'If I had an intern today," he said, "I
wouldn't know what tasks to give him." Basically, he said he would
have to put some serious effort into finding a worthwhile task for
an intern, increasing his own workload in the process. It would be
have to be something interesting - not too boring and dumb - but
also something with no real responsibilities. He also said,
however, that he would go crazy if the intern kept prodding him
every few minutes for something new to do.
This isn't to say that at MediaCom no
one knows what to do with an intern, of course. But nonetheless,
these bits and pieces of fatherly wisdom are accompanying me during
my period here. One thing's for sure: it's not a walk in the park.
I know how busy everyone is, and I don't want to be a thorn in the
side, but I also want to be proactive and take the initiative.
Knowing how much work there is to do makes me really appreciate how
patient people have been with me, and how often people have been
ready to take the time to clarify things with me. I won't identify
anyone specifically - the list would be too long! - but I'd like to
thank everyone for doing this.
Arnold Schwarzenegger once said that
one of his rules for success is to 'Give something back' and be
thankful for what you have received. I hope that in the near future
I will be able to give something back to everyone who has put the
time in for me.
The truth of the week is that finding
the balance between being proactive and being annoying is a mission
even Ethan Hunt would have to think twice about before accepting.
However, the quest for this balance is accompanied by people who
are willing to help, and by the gratitude that follows.