Do me a favor: If there’s an intern/s in your office, find a way to get them to order lunch for your team. But YOU go pick it up and carry it back. It’ll give you a chance to read this post.

Hold your tongue before scoffing at my softness.

When it comes to social issues, millennials are expected to actively change current issues that still polarize Baby Boomers and Gen X’ers.

Marriage will be just be marriage…for everyone. Your local dispensary (marijuana) will become as popular as your favorite roastery (caffeine) or brewery (alcohol).

Besides all of that, we’ll bring about major changes in the workforce. Women will earn salaries equal or better than men. It’ll finally be about the job, not the gender.

But let’s start with a term designated for all genders who are beginning their professional careers: Interns.

It’s the millennial responsibility to eradicate the word in the professional environment.

I’m not the first person to write about this subject. But writing is one thing, action is another.

If you’re in the market for your second or third job, there’s a possibility that you’ve excluded your internship experience on your resume.

Behind the lens at a video shoot during my internship at the Star-Ledger. Photo by Bill Perlman

Behind the lens at a video shoot during my internship at the Star-Ledger.
Photo by Bill Perlman

Your future employer deserves to know where you ‘cut your teeth.’

And you deserve more credit for how you did it.

Intern is a pretty nondescript job role. If they are volunteers, call them volunteers.

Besides, you can’t write ‘paid intern’ on your resume.

The perception is that you scanned a bunch of documents, fetched lunch and knew how many times a company hack took his family to Disney World.

What’s the reality?

There’s no question that companies still need cheap labor. (Google: “Internship programs sue.” It’s not so cheap, anymore).

But there’s a margin of error, cause for concern and a big discrepancy when it comes to the term.

What’s the difference between an intern at the Pentagon and an intern at a political action committee? What’s the difference between an intern at NBC and an intern at a small weekly newspaper in the suburbs?

The word simply marginalizes you.

There are a lot of statistics tied to the word and I won’t bore you with them.

But if I’m talking about millennials rebranding the word, here’s one that jumps off the retina display on your smartphone:

The term ‘intern’ rose to popularity in American literature in the 1970’s and peaked during the mid-1980’s.

If your boss is 20 or 30 years your senior, it makes a lot of sense why they believe internship programs are beneficial to companies – or at least deeming it an internship program.

If your parents are about the same age – college educated or not – it makes sense why they’d push you to seek out an internship.

This is a society where millennials are entering internships with creative ability far beyond what’s taught in certain masters programs at college.

Why? For one, they’ve become active users on YouTube. They may not know how to write cursive, but they can shoot and edit video. They know how to use the Adobe Creative Suite.

I worked as a intern for a number of years. That company treated me well. You would probably say the same about your internship.

This post doesn’t apply to all. Some companies/industries already employ other words that hold more weight – residency, fellowship, candidate programs.

As we head into mid and upper level management, its seems like natural progression to rethink and rebrand the word.

And if nothing else, never let potential talent and creative minds go unpaid.

Lunch is over, back to work.

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