Life can be very unpredictable at times. Even though people feel they can map out every aspect of their lives, occasionally they do get thrown a curve ball that they hadn’t bargained for. Oft times, what appears to be a negative “curve ball” on the surface, turns out to be the very opportunity that could lead to their success. Jahvaris Fulton, 22, the brother of Trayvon Martin, has landed a job as an intern in the office of Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FLA). A spokesperson for Rep. Wilson’s office confirmed that Fulton is a member of the 5000 Role Models of Excellence Project.
5000 Role Models of Excellence Project is a dropout prevention intervention program for minority young boys “at-risk” of dropping out of school and/or choosing a life of crime. The program serves 6,792 students in 89 schools within the Miami-Dade County. The expansion program in Pinellas County serves 450 students in 20 middle and senior high schools. A majority of the students enter the program in middle school and continue activities throughout their high school and post-secondary education years. Primarily, the program serves children who are being reared without the benefit of a father or a positive male role model.
An internship is a temporary position with an emphasis on ‘on-the-job’ training rather than merely employment, and it can be paid or unpaid.
Starting out on a good foot as an intern will not only go a long way to ensure that one has a positive experience but will provide them with the relevant skills they need to build an effective resume as well as a professional network and career references to use in their future job search.
Mistakes within an internship experience only happen when no lessons are acquired. Many interns have gone on to be hired as full time employees. Others barely endure their tenure of the summer break. There are a few best practices on dealing with interns. Here are five mistakes to avoid:
- Become too familiar and begin to expect friendships: When a business acquires the services of an intern, it should never be for selfish reasons. Their job is to create a professional environment. Too often people seem to want to another family member or friend.
- There is not a clear agenda or job description: Why are they there? The company should be able to answer this long before bringing them on. Just because most interns are young and do not have a lot of responsibilities is no reason to waste their time.
- Give access to sensitive information: An intern is not a permanent employee. There should be checks and balances in place to protect any sensitive information about the business or clients. Not only would it be embarrassing to have a client’s privacy breached by an intern but it could also prove costly due to a potential lawsuit.
- Require a full time employee work load: Keep in mind the concept of an intern. There should be a mutual benefit in place. The organization benefits from the added assistance, but the intern should also benefit from the chance to learn from their expertise. Don’t expect to work the intern like a dog for free and then allow them to walk away short changed.
- Never find out their goals or expectations: Everyone wants something. Internships are no different. As companies consider interns, ask real questions. Find out where they want to go and what they want out of life; then view the relationship as a bridge for the intern. This could be an incredible opportunity for growth.
In Latin, the word intern is ‘internus’ and simply means, between another. It gives the ideal that this person works ‘between’ others as they learn and perfect a particular skill. That’s exactly what should be happening with every intern any company brings aboard. It’s not free labor or a person to make all the coffee runs for the office. These are individuals that a company has the chance to touch in a profound way.
Before the unfortunate demise of his brother, Fulton was just another young man without a clear idea for his tomorrow. Many in the media speculated about how hard it must have been for Fulton to testify on the stand in such a high-profile case in light of what happened to his late 17-year-old brother. However, Fulton handled himself on the stand with dignity when given the circumstances of such an emotional situation.
Fulton recently graduated from Florida International University and appears to be a good candidate for the public office internship. Although one situation may not compensate for another, this is proof positive that if one looks past their immediate pain they can either find or create a positive outcome from any situation. Life can be unpredictable, but whatever life brings always remember, “Life is a journey; not a destination.”
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)