Life and times at OrangeAid – it’s not a “goodbye,” it’s a “see you later”
Our first group of interns has graduated, so to speak. *sad panda face*
Dan, Dave, Rox and Kim did an incredible job working on OrangeAid itself: from helping us shape the program to branding it and designing a website for OrangeAid. It was a sexymajestic experience (as they would say) and a true pleasure to work with them and I am sure I speak for every at Jigsaw when I say that we’ll miss each one of our awesome little sponges.
OK, enough from me. Here’s what Dan wants to share (read this is a guest blog post from Dan Kowalsky).
Hello Jigsaw/OrangeAid readers!
It’s a pleasure to see you again. As the new cycle of OrangeAid starts up for the summer (and I have no doubt they’ll provide some sweet content to you guys once their projects are underway) it’s time for me to say an unofficial goodbye. I came into Jigsaw a little over five months ago looking to get my feet wet in the agency world. Before that, I had been plugging away at my academics and working way too many hours as a volleyball coach and a barista. I thought it pertinent to get some experience in the field I may actually be working in post graduation, and boy, am I glad I did.
The people at Jigsaw have been wonderfully hospitable to me, and I’m sure my fellow OrangeAid team members would echo that sentiment. I think it would be fair to call the four of us – Dave, Roxanne, Kim and myself – a fairly green group when we began our time at Jigsaw. Sure, we were bright. We could write. We could design. But what were we going to do with it?
Enter Sue, Steven, Addy, Trevor, Danielle, Jen and everyone else at Jigsaw. To handle an overly rambunctious group like us required a certain measure of patience and humor. They took on the challenge admirably, and provided constant nuggets of knowledge and guidance while maintaining enough distance that we had confidence in building this thing on our own.
I can now walk out of my time at Jigsaw with a better grasp on how the branding process works, from creating a brand identity to drafting a communications/marketing plan and finally executing the strategies and tactics we’ve designed. Not only that, but I’ll walk away with a warm and fuzzy feeling whenever I see future iterations of the OrangeAid program doing great things in the community, knowing I had a hand in bringing the program to life. So to Sue, Steven, Addy, Trevor, Danielle, Jen and everyone else – thank you. I’d like to hope you learned a thing or two from us, as well.
So without further ado, here’s five things that I learned from my time as an OrangeAid intern at Jigsaw. I’ll spare you the technical stuff. You heard about that before. The folks at Jigsaw are experts at it, and I can assure you if you check out the rest of their blog and see their work, you’ll have no question. We’ll call what I’m about to tell you “life lessons.” – things that apply both in the workplace and elsewhere that I will take away from my experiences at Jigsaw.
1. No idea is wrong, but every idea can and should be challenged. – This was perhaps my most striking take away from Jigsaw. During our brainstorming sessions for OrangeAid, there was nothing that was off limits. As the ideas developed, it was amazing to see the wheels turn for Sue, Addy and Steven as they helped us take what was “pretty good” and tweak, tweak, and tweak it some more until it was near perfect. Steven said it best when he described how we were used to thinking in an academic setting. (“How good does this document have to look to get an A?”) That doesn’t apply in the real world. The expectations are raised and the work has to be painstakingly revised until it’s nothing short of great.
2. Learn from people, and allow them to learn from you. – I know both Sue and Steven mentioned that they’ve learned just as much from us as we have from them. If that’s the case, there’s been quite the exchange of knowledge. Each of us comes from different backgrounds with different cultural influences and different ideas. Personally, I was inspired by Roxanne’s fiercely creative style of writing, Dave’s passion for photography and art, and Kim’s eye for creativity and design. That melting pot helped make the final OrangeAid product what it was.
3. Be fearless. – Starting a new internship can be intimidating. As I job hunt, the prospect of starting in an entirely new setting to start a career can be, too. It’s a natural feeling, but to challenge I ask: What is there to lose? If you do the subsequent lessons #4 and #5, and surround yourself with the right people, there’s a very high probability of success. Never be afraid to explore, discover and try new things. I did with Jigsaw, and I’ve made some friends, some great professional connections, and came away having participated in a pretty cool project.
4. Work hard. – Nothing comes easy. I learned this first as a volleyball player and then as a volleyball coach, and became very successful in both. The same applies to the creative communications field (and, I’m sure, in any other field as well). I see the people at Jigsaw pushing themselves to make their work top notch, and the effort shows in the results. Each of us has talent, but it’s not going to grow on its own. Monet went through thousands of canvases and Michael Jordan spent thousands of hours in a gym. Commit yourself to the same level of dedication if you want to be great.
5. HAVE FUN! – Seriously, people. As I move forward in my quest to find the right career path, the people at Jigsaw made something painfully evident to me. Find a place you enjoy. Sure, there will be deadlines, tough stretches, and late nights, but if you find great people, you’ll have a lot more fun and add a lot of great years to your life. Watching the camaraderie, laughs and goofy things that happen, even in the limited time we had in the office, reinforced my need to find the right fit instead of jumping on the first thing that comes along.
To close, I have a message for any potential interns who are considering Jigsaw’s OrangeAid program. Do it. You won’t regret it. To any firm wondering if they should look into Jigsaw to revamp their brand? Do it. You won’t regret it. And to my Jigsaw friends and fellow OrangeAiders. Thanks. It’s been a blast.