In the beginning of september it was time: the time to have a first taste of working life. My internship at Digne Consult started and I was really looking forward to it. Finally I would be able to put my knowledge of work and organizational psychology into practice, instead of just having to imprint the theory of it into my memory. So of course I was excited, but pretty soon I became a little bit nervous as well. Because… Despite the fact that I’ve had several side jobs in the past, regarding my education in psychology I had zero experience. I had my nose in the books most of the time. This is why I began to create some inevitable doom scenarios in my mind: ‘What if something was asked from me and I wouldn’t know the answer to it right away?’ ‘Does this mean I would be failing?’.
I am lucky enough to follow an internship at a company where they know how young workers, like me, may think. After all, they have set up an extensive training to help Young Professionals perform their job well while experiencing a minimum level of stress. I believe this is also why in the first week of my internship, I was told that I could always mention it if something was going on. Work-related, but also if something was going wrong in my personal life. Immediately a burden fell off my shoulders: it was not expected from me that I would do everything perfectly right away. After all, I’m human and I’m following an internship to learn. This is what my mother used to say to me as well: ‘The one who is going to be your mentor knows you will need to get used to put theory into practice and besides: you learn from your mistakes.’ I just always took this pep talk with a grain of salt. And that is because of the current economy, many employers put pressure on their (new) employees. They have the chance to choose from many candidates who would do (almost) everything to get a job, even if that means the job is below their level of education. How am I going to distinguish myself from all those other candidates, but at the same time stay true to myself? And will the true me be good enough? Luckily I learned during my internship that the true me is good enough. I’m getting the opportunity to express my ideas about the content of training and I contribute with my research on perfectionism. This makes me feel like I can really mean something to the organization and I can get something out of it (since I am a Young Professional myself) as well. And of course, in the beginning you have to learn to get used to working nine to five. You have to learn to set priorities if different people ask different things from you and you have to learn to get over the embarrassment to ask your colleagues for help from time to time. But after all these years of reading books about psychology, being able to contribute to society feels like a breath of fresh air. It’s pretty badass, actually.