Lessons From a Lifelong Learner
By Jake Moon, Associate Copywriter, Heartbeat New York
I’m Jake Moon, an associate copywriter at Heartbeat. After graduating from Southern Methodist University in the great nation of Texas, I moved to New York to take part in the Publicis Health internship program. It was the best decision of my life. I won’t go much into what I did as an intern because you probably don’t care. Instead, I’ll give you a run down of the most important things I learned over the past three months.
Let your competitive side go.
The moment you start working to beat others instead of working to get the job done is the moment you will start to falter. It’s hard sometimes to keep your competitive side in check, especially in this field. But the more time you spend on your own job instead of peering over your shoulder, the better your work will be.
When there’s free food, move quickly.
When my father dropped me off at college my freshman year, he gave me two pieces of advice. Don’t ever turn down a free meal, and don’t ever come home. I’ve followed them both to the letter. There are two ways mass distributions of food take place. The first is through word of mouth. Food is left for the taking by an employee, perhaps either too shy or too conscious of his or her own safety to make an announcement. Like human vultures, employees circle the hotspots, waiting for the chance to strike. Once satisfied, they make their rounds to inform their most trusted peers. This is why you need to network and make connections. The second manner of distribution is dangerous, the company-wide email. Once the email drops, the office’s population flees their desks with the franticness of a war zone. It’s like the Dunkirk Evacuation without the sentiment of national pride shortly following.
Find your community.
Think back to your first year of high school or college. Chances are good that you can name the friends you had and what y’all did a lot easier than the classes you took and what lectures were given. It’s no different in the workplace. Finding the right place and the right people to work with is far more important than what you work on. No account or résumé bullet point is worth making your life miserable. When you find the company culture that best suits you or that perfect partner, it’ll reflect in your work. In the end, remember that wherever you go, you’re likely to spend 10 or more hours a day there.
Never order a Coke at a New York restaurant.
They’ll give you a Pepsi.
Don’t play hard to get.
If you want to work there, tell people. If you’re worried about looking desperate, it’s too late. We’re college students. We’re all desperate. Show recruiters that you want to be there and that you’re going to work for it. They’ve got far better things to do than to read between the lines and figure out what you want.
Do your damn job.
Whether you want to do this for a career or realize this may not be for you, show up and do what you signed up for. Don’t expect to be rewarded for doing your job. To borrow a phrase from Mad Men, “That’s what the money is for.” If you can make yourself integral to anything, a project or a team, and take criticism without making a fuss about it, you’ll do just fine.
I’m not going to tell you all you have to do is believe in yourself. That’s a load of crap. Life is full of self-doubt and those who are complacent will only lose touch. That doesn’t mean you should never have confidence. You’re doing something that 99% of the world can’t do. That means you’ll be surrounded by talented people who will undoubtedly shape who you will become. Ask questions and seek criticism. It’s the best way to get better.
In the words of Robert F. Kennedy:
“Our future may lie beyond our vision, but it is not completely out of our control. It is the shaping impulse of America that neither fate, nor nature, nor the irresistible tides of history, but the work of our own hands, matched to reason and principle, that will determine our destiny. There is pride in that, even arrogance, but there is also experience and truth. In any event, it is the only way we can live.”
So go out there and live. Don’t be afraid of saying yes and hearing no. And above all, have some fun. In the end, that’s all that really matters.
Jake Moon is an associate copywriter with Heartbeat in New York City. A descendant of the Old Three Hundred grantees who settled Texas, he is suffering from severe Dr Pepper and barbeque withdrawal. He spends his free time restoring vintage race cars and talking about how much he hates Snapchat. Connect with him on LinkedIn.