Job Shadow Week: A Collection of Fresh Perspectives

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Many of us didn’t know what to expect before going to our first Job Shadow week. Evan Porter and Greg Scott were the brains behind the Job Shadow initiative: giving students an opportunity to learn from professionals in their elements. Some of us knew a bit about the company we shadowed with, but most didn’t know much about its true culture before we walked in the front door. In this article, you’ll read various Orange Umbrella student insights, a collection of perspectives, and employer advice; all sources will remain anonymous.

Nerves are often hard to shake even when you’re excited about something. In spite of being nervous, we walked into the unknown enthusiastic to learn from an array of professionals. Each student had an experience different from the next; some went to modern offices with warm atmospheres, while others adjusted themselves to the fast-paced tempo of the business, and a many saw environments that encouraged collaboration between employees. People were laid back, yet humble; but most importantly, the company created a space that encouraged a healthy balance between one’s work and personal life. This balance created a friendly and supportive culture that I resonated with during my visit. After my own Job Shadow day, I could imagine myself working in that environment and thriving.

There were countless words that stuck with us from our separate experiences, but we shortened them, so you wouldn’t have to read a thesis:

“I learned the importance of standing up for your work, and explaining to a client why I made certain choices. By the same token, being aware of what the client is looking for and finding the sweet spot between their vision and my instinct is just as crucial.”

“I enjoyed learning by watching the employees and clients interact, and seeing the ways that their perspectives and concerns varied. From the employee side, I saw the value in the unwavering intention to build positive relationships with big and small clients alike.”

“It was never said to me directly, but it felt implied from everyone in the office that the biggest lesson was to always be ready for any change.”

“It was relieving to hear professionals say that internships and experience were more valuable than flawless GPAs.”

“Advice that stuck with me was that it’s okay to not know what you want to do, to keep moving forward, and you’ll eventually fall into what you’re supposed to be doing. In other words: trust your gut feelings.”

“Know that everyone can learn from each other, regardless of their rank or role. So, don’t be afraid to bring a new perspective into the workplace.”

“Woody Allen said that “80% of life is showing up,” but the Job Shadows taught me to see that “showing up” could take on more than one meaning. Whether one “shows up” by arriving punctually to the office, being present and curious in a company, or being fearless in one’s resolve to apply to an intimidating agency; there is an inherent merit for all to be gained by taking the first step.”

After our Job Shadows, it was clear that part of understanding where you want to work after graduation goes beyond appreciating a company’s work. If possible, it should start by seeing what an average day in the office looks like, and taking note of the company culture. It can be hard to get a feel for that culture without visiting the company, because culture cannot be bottled up or found summarized in a single sentence on a website. It must be felt to see if you resonate with it or not.

The takeaways depicted in this article are a small fraction of those which each student noted. However, I know that each Orange Umbrella student who did a Job Shadow walked away with a new perspective that will help them in their future endeavors. We want to thank Greg, Evan, and the company correspondents who helped make the Job Shadow week a reality; we cannot wait until the next one!