Mentoring The Next Generation

Many companies choose to have interns work for them during the summer season. These are usually college or high school aged individuals. While most kids are on vacation over the summer, these kids are choosing to cut their free time short in order to spend time working for your organization. Remember this fact.

When you have summer help, there are two types of projects that are given to them:

  • Grunt work — make photocopies, organize packaging, etc
  • Actual work — in our field, this would be design projects, marketing campaigns, etc.

The Benefits of Grunt Work
Grunt work makes us humble. We all do things that we don’t enjoy doing, so it’s a benefit for the interns to do this kind of work. Remember to not give them too much grunt work though—they’re here to learn and grow.

Grunt work can also clear the mind when you are coming up with a design solution. I know that when I’m stuck on a project, I’ll organize my desk or get rid of old paperwork.

Where Things Get Interesting—Actual Work
The interns have come to learn design and marketing. Now, what would you have liked to had known when you were that age about these things? Looking back on my own life, I taught myself Photoshop in high school so I could paint digitally with a Wacom tablet. I was great at using the tools, but I didn’t know the “design thinking” behind it. Design thinking I have had to learn over the years from mentors, professors, workshops, classes and yes, trial and error.

What I have focused on with our interns is teaching them design thinking: how to brainstorm for a project’s topic, narrow it down, create questions, interview experts, record video, copywriting, and creating compelling digital ads. The nucleus of the project is always centered around solving solutions for customers and how to make the content engaging and delightful for them.

I pushed each of them on creating their packages. Though the packages are not perfect, the interns have grown much since they started with us. And that makes me feel good—because I’m giving back to them, teaching them to love the craft of design.

Hopefully I have instilled in them the dedication to being a life long learner. Being a designer and marketing expert isn’t easy, as the digital landscape is always changing.

If a teenager is willingly giving up their free time to work for you, that means they’re serious about their career and growth. So you need to take that commitment seriously.


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