My cousin’s eight-year old son Will is a sensitive soul – theatrical, insightful, and eager-to-please. I was chatting with his mom about his summer day camp and how happy he is there with his friends and fabulous counselors. “The one thing that’s bothering him is that he hasn’t been chosen as Camper of the Week yet,” my cousin laughed. “He’s trying so hard and keeps asking me why he hasn’t been chosen yet! I tell him to keep trying, keep being helpful, being nice to everyone and he’ll get it one of these weeks.”
I thought about what Sue and I have been telling the group of interns we are working with this summer –seven college students on their summer break who are running all the logistics for our local collegiate baseball team, The Keene Swampbats. We tell them to check in regularly with their manager, Sarah. Ask her for feedback, ask what they can do better, ask her how to “hit a homerun” and be an amazingly successful intern. Sometimes we don’t know what it means “to do a good job” at something until we ask. When we ask, we don’t have to guess anymore what will make our bosses happy. If the Swampbats interns have successful experiences they’ll get asked back, given great references and have lots of accomplishment stories to share on their resumes and in interviews.
“Tell Will to go right up to his counselors and ask them how he can earn Camper of the Week,” I told my cousin. Working hard is great, but if you ask questions first, then you know your efforts will go towards the “most important” goals, and are much more likely to be noticed. “Just have that kiddo ask! Then they’ll also know that he wants it and they’ll probably give him extra responsibilities.”
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