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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Reflections on a 35 Year Career - My Final Internship

A writer writes!

I began my final internship in May of 1979.  I recall that my spring quarter in college had been a tough one.  I was working odd jobs to make money.  Cleaning out gutters, sweeping up stadiums after concerts, sealing envelopes, and delivering magazines to stores, were some of the odd jobs I did to have on hand cash for entertainment and gas for my car.  I recall having at least one Political Science class that I felt was irrelevant and out of touch.  I was phasing out my involvement in school activities and focusing on graduating and beginning my adult career.

When I returned for my final internship, I found a vacant apartment in the complex where I originally had begun my internship.  I was again only a block away from work.  I was assigned to an area that was responsible for doing self evaluations of the HR services done by our office.  During that stint my supervisor rated me as someone she thought would not make it as a Federal employee.  I saw her years later after I had received several outstanding awards and had won the honor of being employee of the month and year in the administrative category.  I always wondered how she felt seeing me successful years later after her self declaration that I would never amount to much.

I took my work more seriously during this internship.  I knew that this was the place that would offer me a permanent job after I graduated from college.  I still wore clothes that weren't really meant for the office, but I was beginning to understand that I would need to dress more conservatively in the future.  I also began to further see that Black males were still a premium in HR at my office and that there didn't seem to be any real desire to hire Black males into HR.
 
I still stayed to myself a lot during that internship.  I recall talking more to people, but generally I kept relationships at a business level.  I had more confidence in myself as the internship ended.  I knew that when my internship ended I wanted to return after I graduated.  But, nowhere in my mind did I believe I would spend the next 33 of my 35 years in HR back in the same building where I began my internship.