The Palm Tree and the Unicorn: Tales of an Intern, Vol 1

The Palm Tree and the Unicorn: Tales of an Intern, Vol 1

We’ve been lucky enough to have the most badass intern in the land as part of our crew this summer, and we asked her to write a post about her experience here so far. Read on for Melissa’s reflections, and a light overview of our plans to kidnap her.

It’s hard to get rid of things. Ex-boyfriends, old clothes, the last piece of pizza (just kidding, that’s easy). Most of us would rather push the clutter aside, clear our desks, and start fresh.

For our shop, this cleansing happens periodically, when knick-knacks from past projects, empty ink cartridges, and paint cans get shoved into the back closet, never to be seen again. Recently, I made my way into our crowded abyss and decided to organize the chaos. I dreamed of the day where a giant workout ball, a half-painted fire hydrant, and a broken projector screen would not stand in the way of the files, magazines, and Halloween costumes (!) within.

I dug through the tangled computer wires and years of memories. I wondered, “Why do we have so many paper lanterns?” “When was the last time anyone used a corded telephone?” and “Why did we ever need an inflatable palm tree?” Sixteen years of office culture whizzed before me as I waded through the endless sea of Christmas lights, lava lamps, and mice (of the technological variety).

For the record, none of this was surprising. After all, having spent only a month at MadisonMott at the time, I’d already learned a lot about my strange yet wonderful coworkers. Between team coffee runs, chats around the lunch table, and bursts of creative insanity, I was mostly caught up on our odd family history.

In just a month, they had already taught me a lot about the industry. I witnessed the amount of work that goes into a great social media shoot. I saw the kind of dedication it takes to create a brand platform. I spent hours reading client feedback and tracking revisions. Since then, I’ve helped determine creative direction for the clients I work with, run meetings on my own, and interacted on a deep level with smart, creative minds. Notably, these are privileges that interns at larger firms rarely receive.

As I pieced my way through the closet of memories, I thought about what I would contribute over the course of the summer. What strange yet intriguing items would I add to the closet? What type of legacy would I leave to be found as hidden treasure? What would be my inflatable palm tree? Literally and figuratively, every member of our crew has an inflatable palm tree—a project or memory that marks his or her significant impact on MadisonMott. In fact, each has many more than one. With a workforce of 9, every person—yes even the intern—is a vital piece of the puzzle.

Working in a tight-knit community of brilliant, hard-working unicorns is invigorating in every sense. Each day, when I walk into work, I know that I will get to have a huge impact, not just on our weird, oddly functional office culture, but on the output of the shop as a whole. In a short time, I’d like to think that I have become a true member of the crew (no, really, they keep mentioning kidnapping when we talk about my return to school in the fall). My contributions to the memories and the clutter and all of the final products matter, and not just to me.  

Rarely do summer interns leave companies feeling as if they have made an impact—in this way and many others, MadisonMott is wonderfully out of the ordinary, inflatable palm trees and all.