Finding your place in the office as an intern requires a tremendous amount of listening and a minimal amount of talking. As the old English Proverb goes…
“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”
I am not advising to remain mute through the duration of your experience, but to listen and absorb from elder professionals who encompass a wide variety of knowledge and wisdom, is really your ideal move.
Make professional friends, or ‘priends’ – not individuals who run parallel to the friends you grew up with, but colleagues who enter your social circle and could benefit you on both a personal and professional level. Know the difference between the two.
As Gordon Gekko says in Wallstreet…
“The most important commodity I know of is information.”
Keep your eyes open wide and your ears open wider, you’d be surprised the information people willingly or accidentally disclose. I know in my current line of work, information changes the game.
Lastly, do your very best to stray from office gossip without appearing anti-social – it is merely inevitable in every office environment. If you’re unable to escape this shade of conversation, certainly do not delve to the level of your surrounding colleagues.
Your main goal: Be irreplaceable; if you act like an employee, you will be treated as one. Anxiety and fear is natural in this position but if you can overwhelm these inevitable feelings with confidence and discipline, you will find that gaining respect from the people around you is quite an easier feat than you thought.