For many businesses out there, this is intern season and working with them often reminds me how my own experiences over the years has provided opportunities that simply cannot be taught in the classroom. Until you’ve worked through a difficult challenge, you’ll never fully understand what it takes to achieve successful outcomes. The real world rarely resembles the perfectly scripted laboratory environment of a University setting. Interns are young, hungry and eager to advance their knowledge in the industry so they can press ahead with their careers. They’re also inexperienced and for many this summer will be their first foray into the business world. Help them learn how to be successful, but don’t deny them opportunities to fail. Teaching the next generation workforce to take qualified risks, embrace challenges, and learn from their failures is more important than any other job function they’ll learn this summer.
Knowledge gained through pain and failure are often the most valuable experiences one will ever receive. When we were children our parents would warn us not touch the hot oven. What did we do? We touched the hot oven. Yes, it was hot. Yes, we got burned. It doesn’t take too many encounters to know that our hands are not built to touch hot ovens. Your interns will inevitably touch the hot oven. When they do, show them where you keep the oven mitts and how to use them.