Over Deliver: Lessons for Interns and Entry Level Employees

Everyone in the office sees those dirty coffee cups in the sink, the spilled and splattered dried mess on the inside of the microwave, and the trash on the floor tossed toward the container but missing the target. Although seen by all, no one wants to deal with it – it’s someone else’s mess – someone else’s job and beneath an office employee or supervisor to stoop to and clean up. It’s usually fixed by that “someone else” – usually the person that is bothered by it most or finally the office janitor. We don’t “see” these small insignificant areas of service anymore because we are wrapped up in our own world. The glaring trash items left on the floor are just stepped over without a thought because it’s our habit to dismiss them.

New interns and employees today arrive fresh out of college and many of them show up in Hollywood with an attitude of entitlement. They’ve spent huge sums of money on their schooling (or mom and dad have), they’re up on technology, and they know how to make things happen. Or at least, they think they do. My advice… read the book of Ruth in the Bible. If Ruth hadn’t been a willing, caring, and diligent worker when she was just gleaning the left overs in the fields – picking out the last bits of barley from Boaz’s field, she wouldn’t have gotten the attention of the foreman, the other workers, and eventually Boaz the owner. Her willingness and caring was noticed.

One of the most important leadership skills a young intern can learn in Hollywood is to look for areas that they can quietly serve and care for those on the sets and production offices where they have been given the opportunity to work. As a new intern or worker just off the street, you are gleaning the field. Work hard to pick up the small stuff, value the entry level position you’ve been placed in, and work diligently to pay attention because it’s really big stuff to those in the top level positions who don’t have the time to do those small menial things that allow for life in an office to function.

Our culture is highly competitive today. Time is money and we’re driven and consumed with our own jobs and agendas. We want to get noticed.  But God teaches us to be faithful in the small things and to the small people around us because when we do, He sees us, and it’s all about giving Him the glory. He gives us favor when no one else does.  However… I think someone will see and someone will notice when someone truly cares.

Boaz was the rich man that owned the field, but he noticed Ruth, the new insignificant girl who was paying attention to the small stuff and was diligent and grateful in what she had been given.  Mark Zoradi, former President of Disney’s Motion Picture Group told a group of students I was teaching a few years ago to “over deliver. “ He said he learned early on to give the client more than they were asking for. He always over delivered.

Luke 16:10 NIV Whoever can be trusted with the very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.