Through the Nervous Eyes of Someone Trying to Fit In
By: Casey Barton
Everyone has those pre-interview jitters. A plethora of questions run through your head:
What if they ask me a question I don’t know the answer to?
Will I be able to do all that is expected of me?
What if I get hired and I don’t like it?
I have never really been hired by an employer I didn’t have any connections or experience with. I worked for my uncle’s construction business growing up. Then there was a publishing factory job for a summer, hired through a temp agency. Most recently I worked as a waitress simply because they were in need of servers. The interview for that was horrendous. I stuttered. I said the same things over and over because I didn’t know what else to say. This was my first real interview, and I was unprepared.
So as you can imagine I was feeling especially nervous for my internship interview at Wildcard Corp. The stakes were high. I needed an internship on my résumé before I graduated college and this was my last shot. Although I was nervous, I went into the interview telling myself to feel confident. I knew that whatever was going to happen, there was a purpose for it.
The interview went well! I was hired for the position of Administrative Intern at Wildcard Corp. I breathed a sigh of relief. My confidence was boosted. But I would be starting the next week with somewhat of an unknown job description. This made my first day even more nerve-wracking.
What if I mess up?
Make a fool of myself?
Coworkers don’t like me?
I was pleasantly surprised none of my worst fears came true. Well, besides forgetting my new email password! Of all the mistakes, what a dumb one to make.
The first few days I read all the documentation for policies and procedures of the company. This was astonishing to me. I was being paid to learn about the company. I always assumed you needed to do all the reading and learning about the company on your own time. That was what was expected of me at my last job at least. Here it was explained to me that understanding the policies and procedures is such a high priority. Employees sometimes need an incentive to take the time to read these documents and ask questions if they have any.
Later on, I was fortunate to sit in on interviews and learn all about human resources and the interview process. I was on the other side now! Things that I learned from this side was to take notes of all the technology terms I did not know. Which sure was A LOT! Being exposed to these terms has helped push me to learn on my own.
Little did I know, technology terms are endless and the explanations are full of more terms! CMS. CCS. PHP. CSV. Raspberry Pi is not something you eat. The list goes on. At first my head was spinning when terms were asked in interviews I was sitting in on. Many of these terms are explained well in other blog posts (here, here, and here are some good examples). The blogs on the Wildcard website were a useful tool for me to get a grasp on some of the terms.
Cybersecurity, Web Development, and IT solutions are very complex things to understand. I came into my position here at Wildcard Corp. with a strong intent of learning more about these topics. After all it is what we do. Although this is what the company does, it is not what I was going to be doing.
During my time at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, I became interested in technology as a whole, as it is a growing trend in all industries. During our capstone projects, for example, we were to help a business continue to differentiate itself from competitors. It became clear during our presentations that most all companies—whether a clothing company or an online radio streaming company—use technology. Our strategies reflected this when we used some form of technology to improve the company.
The environment at Wildcard has been amazing to say the least. Straight out of college I never would have expected a work environment I love. All of my co-workers are friendly and honest. People are not afraid to speak their mind and tell it like it is. Something I respect 100%. This was a relief as it is quite intimidating to join a small business. I assumed I’d encounter the classic office gossip, but that doesn’t happen here. If it did, everyone would hear anyway. The walls are so thin!
The company’s atmosphere as a whole encourages further learning and expanding your knowledge. This is huge for me. I want to keep learning and have those opportunities available to take on new challenges. Wildcard does not hold you back, they build you up. At the same time, you are told when something is not right. It is called corrective criticism! It helps you become better at what you do and what you want to do.
Everyone in the office is willing to help with anything you need. They understand that individuals don’t know everything. Questions are always encouraged and help will always be there. This culture may be a result of hiring a lot of self starters and people who want to explore and figure things out for themselves. Questions are always welcome. Wildcard Corp. is a great culture for brainstorming new ideas and anyone is willing to help or direct you to someone who will have advice.
I will say at first it was difficult to ask people questions. I am a shy person starting off. I try not to be, but it is easier for me to talk if people reach out to me first. I was lucky to have been involved with the quarterly Krausening shortly after I started working as an intern. This was a great opportunity to get to know more of what projects we were working on as a company and get to know my co-workers. I was also able to kick butt in darts!
So now to ask the question: What have I learned from working as an intern at Wildcard? There are three basic answers:
Work environment plays a large part in productivity and job satisfaction.
Company policies and procedures are a vital part to understand with any job.
Always say yes when food is offered to you.
And with that, thank you to everyone at Wildcard Corp. You are all incredible people anyone would be lucky to work with. I cannot wait to see what life will bring when I come back from my study abroad opportunity in China.