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Experiencing Gratitude as an Intern

Reflecting on my own experiences with feeling appreciated as an intern and how that influences motivation

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This summer I was employed as an intern for a larger startup company in Austin where I am continuing to work part time during the school year. I figured this would be a perfect opportunity to observe gratitude in the workplace firsthand.

I decided to take the Grateful Organizations Quiz provided by OpenIDEO to reflect on my experiences working for this company. Gratitude in the workplace is not something that I had really ever thought about before. I never noticed if it was lacking or abundant until I started working through these questions. My results from the quiz gave me a score of 61 out of 80 meaning that the company I work for if fairly good at fostering gratitude.

I would say that these results accurately describe my experience working with this company. The questions got me to think about specific instances in my workplace when someone expressed gratitude toward me. I was responsible for creating an employee database for payroll data along with creating representations of the data in excel. I was surprised at how much people applauded my work. I frequently received gratitude for this project that I felt would have been less significant. The praise I received made me more willing to work hard and made me feel like I was contributing something valuable to the company and also that I was a valuable employee to the company.

It's important for companies to focus on gratitude, but it is even more important that they focus on allowing this to happen between all levels of the company. I feel almost as if it is more important to express gratitude toward interns. It makes them feel more appreciated and more willing to work harder for the short period of time that they get to work for the company.

This quiz also helped me realize that I need to be looking internally at how I am contributing to gratitude in my workplace. It’s not just about how you feel, it’s about how you make others feel. Practicing gratitude yourself and focusing on making others feel appreciated will start a chain reaction and will make people more likely to treat you with the same respect.

Tell us about yourself

I am a senior at The University of Texas at Austin studying Management Information Systems.

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