It’s hard to believe that my Duke Engage experience is coming to a close so soon. This whole summer everything zoomed by. I feel like I just started working for MedHealth (and I hope I get to work with this wonderful team even more) but in these past few weeks, I have learned a number of lessons that will guide me on my own journey as a social innovator. For this particular blog post, I had to sit down and really think about the key takeaways. I learned several hard and soft skills through my work with Stacey and the guidance I received from Matt Nash and Katherine Black but the lessons that will last the longest are realities I got to witness first time. So, without further ado, the three things I learned this summer:
Thing Number 1: Everyone won’t be easy to work with
The worst experience of my summer was undoubtedly an interview I had with a particular entrepreneur that I met with. Going into the meeting I was told that he was the type of guy “Who tells it like it is” but what I really met was a rude, bullish man. The racist overtones in his rhetoric truly rubbed me the wrong way, yet this was a man I reached out to seeking wisdom. Dealing with him was tough, but I had to get his feedback because, even if I disliked him, he was still an expert in a field that I want to get involved with. For me this was a reality check, I won’t be able to click with everyone I meet but I still need to work with them. From this experience, I learned a little bit about working with “detestable” characters and hopefully I handle situations like this better in the future.
Thing Number 2: Delayed Gratification is the name of the game
Work is not always glamorous. Actually, work is rarely glamorous. Throughout the summer, I got to work on some really cool projects, however, the bulk of the work was tedious and tiring. From staring at excel sheets to formatting word documents I did my fair share of grinding. What made this grind particular difficult is the fact that the results don’t show themselves for months on end. Yes, we set up the background for the CRM transfer but the actual transfer won’t happen until long after I leave. The lack of gratification definitely hinders motivation but getting past that and looking at the big picture is very important.
Thing Number 3: Innovation is needed and it’s needed bad
I always thought the current systems in place were optimized, especially in big billion-dollar industries. I never realized how unorganized and dated so many facets of the corporate world are. Through Duke Engage I now have a greater appreciation for innovators and the work they are doing that is desperately needed.