Why Community Building Is An Important Factor To Evaluate In Your Internship
3 Goldman Sachs internships. Yes, 3 internships. One of the first questions I receive from interested students or curious coworkers is why I decided to return to the Compliance department at Goldman Sachs so many times and the answer is simple: I found an amazing network of people who support me and my goals. From affinity networks and mentorship pairings to candid senior managers and intern bonding, for almost 3 summers, I have found it incredibly easy to connect with the people at Goldman. Some of my closest friends and professional advocates have come from the firm and relationship and community building have consistently played a tremendous role. Whenever I return during he summers, there are easily 15+ people who I feel the need to catch up with. I found my community.
While some factors will certainly take precedence over others (location, pay, flexibility, etc.), I cannot express how important it is to like where and who you work with. On a day where everything seems to not go in your favor – you missed your train, your computer is being slow, and the emails seem to never end – it means a lot to know that you can laugh, rant, or celebrate with the people around you. Incentive packages and the content of your role are incredibly important, but a positive team dynamic can make all of the difference if not complement your work life.
In my case, I have always been very openly pre-law with my team and supervisors and they’ve embraced this future goal with open arms. Compliance traditionally has had a lot of lawyers, but my coworkers have consistently gone out of their way to be transparent about their experiences, point me in the direction of important resources, and even, give me a tour of their law school campus (my former first-year mentor got into Harvard Law School!!) From birthdays to engagements, I have found my teams and the overall Compliance culture to be incredibly “human”. We have lives, hopes, and dreams outside of our jobs and the GS Compliance culture has seemed to support them. I can only speak to my experience, but I have come to realize how important this support has been to my overall development. It has allowed me to try and fail without fear, consider paths previously unexplored, confidently share my opinions and bond with an incredibly diverse cohort of people. While it is not always sunshine and rainbows, I couldn’t have asked for more.
Goldman Sachs Compliance Interns, Summer 2017
6 Questions You Should Ask Yourself About Your Fit Within Your Work Community:
Can I candidly express my thoughts?
Do I have access to mentors and advocates?
Am I challenged or can I disagree with my peers?
Is “work-me” significantly different than “weekend-me”?
Can I talk about my goals?
Can I grow here?
To be clear, an internship is a very short time to get a sense of your interest in a company or career field, but you can assess your fit holistically. Contrary to some opinions, I feel like you really shouldn’t have to change yourself “that much” in your workplace. Give or take some business clothes and emoji usage, you should be able to bring your full self to work. Seek out environments that will encourage you to ask questions and express yourself.
Large companies, in particular, have a number of different job functions and business streams, so don’t be too quick to cross off an entire company because of your workload (or lack thereof). Focus on the things that cannot be changed, like the people, and dive deeper before making a final decision. Further, ensure that you’re putting in some work on your end to build relationships and a positive reputation! Community building is a two-way street – In order to make friends, you must first be one.
In short, go where you feel a part of something bigger than yourself. Go where you find people who like the “real you” and support your growth. Go where you feel appreciated.
Lydia Anglin is a recent Ivy League graduate who is passionate about using her voice to enact change in minority and female communities. She has worked 8+ internships in diverse industries, including Wall Street firms and the Obama White House, and is now bringing her career and lifestyle tips to you! Meet Lydia on Instagram @queen_of_anglin and Twitter @its_lit_dia.