In March of 2022, I feverishly scrolled through lists of open internships on Indeed, Handshake, and LinkedIn. Summer was fast approaching, and so was my deadline to get a summer internship. To graduate in May, this was my final requirement to satisfy – or no diploma.
I was beginning to give up hope. I’m doomed to serve pizzas forever, I thought. Then I saw an internship listing for Kloeckner Metals, and I had a friend who vouched for their internship-turned-job, so this one felt different. With a bit of optimism, I submitted my application and soon interviewed with the Marketing team. When I got the offer, I had to pull the phone from my ear so I could squeal in excitement. I’d officially be getting my diploma, and I was done slinging pizzas!
On my first day, I waited anxiously as the elevator took me up to the fifth floor. It finally hit me: I wasn’t at a pizza shop anymore. I gripped my purse and realized I didn’t have a plan when the elevator opened. I didn’t want to walk around the office looking like a lost kid. Luckily, when the doors opened, a tall fellow with an excellent mustache greeted me and introduced himself as Matt, the Training & Dev Manager. I felt safe with mustache-man Matt as he led me to a conference room with other interns.
That week we did some training and visited a few branches to begin understanding the big picture at Kloeckner. We also received sleek computers for our new roles. On the final training day, they handed us a shiny certificate, we took a cute picture together, and we set off on our own internship adventures.
That day, I officially met my team. I spent some time with my boss, Steven, Head of Marketing. I immediately liked his management style. Then, I met Lauren, my writerly godmother. It was nice to talk to them in person. I also had a virtual rendezvous with Natalie, our Acquisition Marketing Manager and SEO Guru. Of course, I met all of them in the interview process, but now I was hearing about all the things I’d be doing. I had a lot to learn, but I was pumped to start!
With so many responsibilities assigned to the Marketing Department, I got to do a variety of work. No two days have been the same. Sometimes, I would scroll and click through excel files to reorganize large chunks of data. Other days, I would write articles and blog posts using my creative writing skills. In two months, I was able to gain a whole new, diverse set of skills and build up others.
The people who gave me ample feedback along the way were the best part of this quick development. I thrive off of feedback, and my team was never afraid to tell me what I needed to fix, change, or do differently. They did so thoughtfully and constructively. After all, Internships are about learning new things and getting your feet wet in your chosen field. Consider my feet soaked!
I also came to appreciate the corporate work week; no more weekend shifts for me. I quickly adjusted to the ‘work hard, play hard’ lifestyle, and I was starting to enjoy my free time on weekends. Nothing feels better than laying on your bed after having a super productive work week. Saturdays are finally for friends and relaxation, instead of pizza grease and moody customers.
Another aspect of corporate life that I had the pleasure of experiencing was work trips. In June, the interns were sent on our first mission to Birmingham, Alabama, where we visited two steel mills: Commercial Metals Company and Nucor Tubular Products. At CMC, we were treated to one of the coolest light shows I had ever seen as we watched 80,000 lbs of steel melt right in front of us. At Nucor, we got to watch the steel bending process. We watched it twist and warp into different tubular shapes. We were even treated to a nice dinner, where we shared our favorite parts of the tours. Corporate life has its perks!
Weekends and business trips are nice, but the greatest perk is the people at Kloeckner. The employees here and everyone I’ve communicated with at our branches in different states are what puts the cherry on top of my experience this summer. I always felt comfortable asking questions and receiving feedback that would help me grow. As I walked through the office, I was met with smiling faces around every corner, and there was always a friendly “Hello!” When given constructive feedback, it was layered in with positive affirmations (this is what Lauren calls a “Constructive Feedback Sandwich”). Everyone who’s just starting out deserves to be supported, and they made sure to do that.
Kloeckner is a company full of hard-working, friendly people who value the company culture and enjoy collaboration. That’s why I was so honored when I got the news they’d be offering me a full-time position. I’m proud to say that I’ve accepted the role of Marketing Specialist. I couldn’t think of a more impactful first step in my career path or a better introduction to corporate life. I am so thankful for this experience, and I look forward to learning even more with every step I take from here.
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