Entering my senior year of college at the University of St. Thomas is just a little bit of a daunting concept to grasp. Where have the years gone when all I had to worry about was keeping my GPA at a level my parents would accept and trying not to get arrested for anything stupid? Well, the real world has crept up on me with the stealth of a ninja and now it is staring me directly in the face.
I needed to start thinking about what I was going to do after graduation and realized that I have absolutely no idea what I want to do. I suppose it is good that I have multiple options available to me and I believe I am fortunate in this respect so I can’t complain, however, I needed to start narrowing down my options and looking for some tangible business-world experience so that I don’t come out of the gate completely untested after graduation.
My first thought was to find an internship; in what area was another question. As an English major, I have been ridiculed and laughed at by many people who immediately write off my choice of major as something that will get me nowhere in life and is completely useless in the real world where discussing plot devices and author’s writing techniques is something left for the hippies and middle-aged women in book clubs.
With more than a little trepidation, I set out in search of a viable internship opportunity and started off by hitting up my university’s career website to send out my CV to anybody willing to look it over. I probably applied for 25+ internships and was only graced with a reply email from 3 companies, one of which was Space2Burn New Media. This was my very first experience with the folks at Space2Burn, and let me tell you, it set the tone for what I would come to recognize as an unparalleled passion for satisfying their customers and keeping a professional courtesy with everyone they came in contact with.
I got a reply from Jon within one day of sending my CV to him. He wrote back and was incredibly accommodating because they had wanted an intern to start at the beginning of the summer but I was studying in New Zealand until the end of June, so I wasn’t exactly fitting in with their schedule but he was willing to meet with me over a month after I contacted him to see if I would fit in with their team. I was a little skeptical about going to work for a website development company because I have had literally no experience in that field and my technical expertise can be classified as mediocre at best, but Jon seemed pretty easy going so I decided I might as well go down and check it out.
When I walked up to the Space2Burn office, I noticed a door covered in brewery and cycling stickers and instantly felt just a little more at ease. When I walked in, everyone turned and smiled at me while Jon rushed over with a big grin on his face and a hand extended to welcome me. After talking for a bit, it was decided that I would start as a marketing intern.
My first day was a bit of a shock for me, they had me sit down with another intern, Kevin, who walked me through their ignite platform for building websites. I had never worked with anything like it before and I was sort of thrown into it, but surprisingly to me it was pretty self-explanatory and easy to use. I later learned that they did this to help me get a grasp of the kind of work they do and the service they offer to clients.
After talking to many clients while collecting testimonials, I found that this same easy-to-use ignite platform was what many other people were praising since they could easily make updates to their own sites with little knowledge of website development.
After working with the people at Space2Burn for 2 months now I have gotten to know the people there a little better and glimpsed a little more of their lifestyles, and I must say that I am so incredibly happy that I decided to go to Space2Burn because the people there are so easy to work with and genuinely nice and helpful people. I can’t imagine what it would be like working anywhere else.
While talking to other clients, I have come to realize that this same feeling is shared unanimously amongst everyone I have talked to. Jon and Trevor work exceedingly hard to please their customers and to keep everything up-to-date. I have even noticed how they like to take a personal interest in their client’s lives when I went to one of their Thirsty Third Thursday get-togethers where clients and friends of theirs met at the office to have a couple delicious beers and just chat.
The friendly atmosphere at Space2Burn coupled with the cycling lifestyle that they live and perpetuate constantly has opened my eyes to many different things. First of all, I have gained some valuable business experience that was greatly improved by Jon walking me through a lot of different things and giving me some advice in areas I had no experience in. Along with the business aspect of it, I have been given a shining example of how a good company conducts business.
You hear a lot about business ethics in school, but it doesn’t quite make it a reality when you are considering case studies of enormous corporations paying workers in foreign companies pennies for their labor, what really hit home to me was the way in which Jon and Trevor handled their business and handled their customers.
They put everything they had into making their customers happy, not in squeezing out every last penny that they could from their pockets. It helped me realize that the business world doesn’t have to be as cut-throat and heartless as it is made out to be, and when you go the extra mile like these people do, you gain a fantastic reputation and build lasting relationships with your customers that truly do go beyond a business relationship and become more of a friendship. I think that will be the most important lesson I will take away from this internship.
No matter what, people come first, and good business will follow. Finally, and to some people, most importantly, their involvement in the cycling lifestyle has rubbed off on me. I bike the 4 miles to work every day that I go in to the office and while working with a couple of their clients’ cycling sites, it has sparked an interest in mountain biking that I am itching to try out.
My experience at Space2Burn has been fairly short, but I have come away from it with entirely new perspectives on many different things and I can’t thank them enough for giving me this opportunity. I definitely look forward to keeping an ongoing relationship with Space2Burn after my internship has ended, and I think that speaks volumes of the character of the people who work there.