Reframing your storyline

Grow where you are planted.

I used to know someone, let’s call her Jane Doe, who landed an internship with a large, multi-national company.  This was the kind of internship that was well sought after by many students and often one of the top promoted internships by university career centres.

Every day after work, Jane would call me up and complain about all the bad aspects of her job.  How she stopped asking to take on more tasks and just didn’t really care about it cause someone else will review her work and fix it.  She knew this was not the career path for her, so she didn’t care to learn about the work she was doing.  Which is fair, you’re allowed to not like something new that you’ve tried.  I listened and was understanding but I also told her that maybe she should try looking at this internship differently.  A lot of other students would’ve loved the job she had so maybe she should just write off the summer as a wasted co-op term.  I suggested she take this as a learning opportunity and before she knows it, the summer would be over.

This was a chance for her to learn how to handle difficult people and people she didn’t get along with.  We’re all going to encounter and have to work with people like this, so now she has a head start.

This was her chance to learn something new and challenge herself in an industry and subject matter that she wasn’t familiar with.  Sometimes the best place to put yourself is outside of your comfort zone.  Even though Jane wasn’t going to pursue a career in business, I think there’s still value in learning how to understand, assess, and analyze different situations.

I told her that it wasn’t going to be easy finishing the internship and it probably wouldn’t be much fun, but if she can reframe the way she thought about it, she can make the most of her summer (Jane was obligated to stay the full term or risk not graduating).

I don’t know if I ever convinced her to see things differently, I didn’t notice a change in her attitude.  But I learned that sometimes when life gives you lemons, the best thing to do is to just make lemonade and enjoy the rest of the summer.


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