I Love My Intern’s Amazing Ease With Technology

One of the rites of summer is finding and hiring an intern — and sharing knowledge about the marketing business with him or her for a few precious weeks each year. Yet, who’s sharing with whom is often under question.

Chet Dalzell and intern Julie Randolph. Photo Credit: Chet Dalzell
Chet Dalzell and intern Julie Randolph. Photo Credit: Chet Dalzell

One of the rites of summer is finding and hiring an intern — and sharing knowledge about the marketing business with him or her for a few precious weeks each year.

Yet, who’s sharing with whom is often under question. Yes, marketing, advertising, public relations, branding, social media, key messages — there’s plenty of knowledge to impart. My colleagues and I at the Digital Advertising Alliance enjoy immensely the chance to inspire a potential marketing career entrant.

Yet wait a minute — I’m continuously amazed at how quickly our particular intern — Julie Randolph, Bowdoin ’17 at DAA takes to tech tools like Google AdWords, Web Site CMS, Salesforce, iMovie. She’s as new to these specific tools as I’ve been, but the learning curve for her is minutes — when I measure ease of use in weeks. Productivity, thus served.

Is that an indictment on me or a celebration of her?

The Indictment: Let’s be honest, anything with a keyboard and a screen more often represents professional life and pro tools. I see a computer and I see work to do. I see a smartphone and I’m connected to the office 24/7. Technology enables work. For her, such device usage is how she grew up in all aspects of life — personal, school, previous summer work. Technology enables living.

The Rationalization: I separate from work (from time to time) by putting away the screen, and [horror] leaving the phone behind for an hour or two. In my work, no one’s life is at stake — though my livelihood clearly is. Still, I can check in periodically and manage my always-on professional life accordingly. On my personal side, I don’t have any children of my own to keep track of, so I relish my time off the grid. There’s really a lot of personal enjoyment and freedom in my not being always-connected. I can ride a bike, walk down the sidewalk and talk to a friend without having to glance at a personal device every minute.

The Celebration: Now let’s get back to the intern. I’d say she has a more healthful relationship with tech. Technology doesn’t even define her. She’s smart, knowledgeable, intellectually curious, well rounded in lots of ways. Tech simply is. It is there to serve, to empower, to entertain, to shop, to connect, even to protect — probably all the things that I use tech for, but she approaches tech with barely second thought. Technology is innate.

I have to admit, the user-friendliness of tech tools is getting better and better all the time — even I can master it eventually. But for a few weeks this summer, wow, am I amazed. Some company will be very, very smart when she graduates next year.