The Real World

The Real World - Elyssa Diamond, CLIP: New York 2016

It is not easy for me to reflect on my first week of work right now because I am currently struggling to keep my eyes open, but I think my overwhelming desire to go to bed at 8:30 p.m. actually sums up the working world pretty well.

I am not used to this life of waking up early every morning. In theory, the last time I had to wake up before 7 a.m. consistently was in high school, but in practice, the only consistent part of my morning routine was running into my first period class two minutes late. I’m learning that in the real world, however, I don’t have the luxury of running late and getting away with it. If I miss my train and show up in the office at 10 instead of 9:30, I am responsible for making up for the lost time.

A prominent theme of CLIP is professionalism. Over the last two weeks, not only have I learned a lot about my specific job and placement, but I am discovering what it means to work in a professional environment. Questions that I didn’t even know I had are constantly being answered, from whether showing my shoulders is considered “business casual” to what exactly am I supposed to do with my cellphone during a meeting?

I am lucky in the sense that I love my placement with the Youth Communications branch of the Union for Reform Judaism, but even if I hated it, I think that I would still get more out of CLIP than I would out of many other internships.

Even if you were to remove the office element of CLIP altogether, I would still end this summer with a greater understanding of the working world. The settings in which the CLIP cohort meets outside of the office emulates professional life in several ways. Being a professional means working effectively with people who have different opinions and beliefs than you do. It means talking to and making relationships with as many people as possible. It means listening to the person standing up at the front of the room because, no matter how smart and adult you think you are, there is always more to learn.

CLIP ensures that every Monday through Friday, I am learning and growing. I am growing my skill set, my professional and social networks, and my worldview.  Every day, I am learning what it means to be professional, both inside my office and out.