Last fall, I started my internship at Gangplank as an assignment for a business class. After my group turned in the final report, I decided to stick around this crazy, creative place to see what else I could learn. When Katie asked me to write about my experiences thus far, about a hundred things popped into my head:
(Disclaimer: the “slices” are only approximations… I’m sure everyone knows how much time they actually spend goofing off.)
In the 6 months I’ve been at Gangplank, I’ve had the chance to see and participate in a ton of projects, many of which won’t fit on that graphic. Mostly I’ve been helping Katie with weekly update stuff and occasional research projects. I’ve learned how to write press releases and about social media. I’ve also been helping with the job skills workshop at the end of this month, which has been an interesting lesson in event planning.
The most important thing I’ve gained through this internship is exposure to a completely different business mindset and model. Obviously, there is nothing wrong with working for traditional, established companies, where people have defined roles, ladders to climb, and stock options at the end of the year. There is security in the traditional workplace, and many people are successful in that setting. But I’ve always felt uneasy at entering that kind of world. Maybe I am just a non-conformist or an idealist, but I’ve always felt constrained throughout my years of business classes at ASU.
Fortunately at Gangplank, I met people who are taking a risk and creating something different. These people are smart entrepreneurs who love to participate in the community. They hold workshops, host conferences, and offer their skills and services for absolutely free. Lots of people talk about innovation and collaboration, but only at Gangplank have I experienced it in action.
I graduate in May with a business management degree, and I haven’t a clue where I’ll be or what I’ll be doing. However, I take comfort in the fact that we are not all lemmings, doomed to don business suits and work the system. At the end of this internship, I’ll hopefully have gained some hard skills. At the very least, I’ll take away a changed mindset about what it means to work and be part of a community.