My internship this summer at Moss Adams involved tax and assurance/audit accounting work. I prepared entire tax returns for a couple corporations. In addition, there were various supporting tasks that I completed for both the tax and assurance services. During the last week of my internship, I went to a client and had the opportunity of working on the audit report for this company. Unlike many other interns, I always had work that full-time employees were giving me. Another activity I completed involved developing a fun charity event for the entire Portland office to engage in. Once the charity was chosen, I helped organize the event and incentivize people to donate. In addition, I took on the responsibility of coordinating a day for the interns to volunteer at a local non-profit.
The first week involved introductory training and getting acquainted with the firm. All of the interns were still very professional and formal. The following week we had more training, but it was in Disneyland in California. The 30+ interns in the Portland, Oregon office all flew out of PDX together. We made it to the Disneyland hotel and immediately started to bond and get acquainted. There was a social the first night that allowed everyone to hang out in a less formal setting. The next day, we had a presentation involving the topic of becoming “famous” which encouraged all of the interns across all office locations to strive to be that. This resonated with me. Initially I was timid, but after this presentation, I instantly became more comfortable and bold. I found myself in a lot of situations making people laugh and being completely myself. This is a very profound change. I have never felt so comfortable around a group of people so quickly. I let all of my guards down. There were other fun activities in Disneyland that allowed me to foster deep connections with several of the interns. These friendships were maintained even once we left Disneyland.
Returning to the office, I began to understand myself even better. I took a strengths finder test and was presented with some very unexpected strengths. Three of my top five strengths were other-oriented. One of them was titled “includer” and throughout my internship I noticed myself utilizing this strength. I made every effort to ensure that all interns felt included and accepted. Although it is natural for some people to gravitate towards each other, I was worried about cliques forming. Whenever I had free time, I would talk to different interns and try to get to know them on a personal level. If anyone was gone at a client for a while, I would eagerly welcome them when they came back to the office. I assumed that my mindset for this internship would be to focus on myself and develop my skills and do such a great job that the company would have to give me a full time offer. However, that mindset was completely gone for most of the internship. My outlook transformed into focusing on other people. I no longer thought of developing myself, but in developing relationships with others and in making others glad to be at work. In fact, I made a bad mistake one day, and it was initially upsetting, but everyone supported me, and it was no longer a big deal. By shifting my selfish focus to an outlook regarding the wellness of others, I was ultimately able to grow and develop, even though it occurred in an unusual manner.
Although the company is an accounting firm, the structure is much different on the west coast. Co-workers are a lot less formal, and often act more like friends, with occasional seriousness to complete their work. I went to tour a client and ended up getting very carsick. I was emotional and did not look well at all. However, I did not ask anyone to take me back to the site because I did not want to make anyone miss out on the tour. One of the interns saw my misery and decided to be a voice. She asked an employee of the client to take me back to where our cars were parked, and a recruiter willingly came back with me. She let me sleep in her car with the AC on, which helped my sickness go away. Both the recruiter and the intern were so eager to help me. Their kindness showed me the importance of making deep relationships with people, and by being open and honest with other people, they are more willing to assist me and strengthen me.
The changes that occurred in me throughout this internship will have a profound impact on my life. I was always worried about switching my major from healthcare professions to accounting. I had no idea how I could help people, which is an important aspect of a career I pursue. However, the transformation I experienced showed me that I can help others in any career I choose. I believe that utilizing my other-oriented strengths in my personal life has immensely changed as well. A lot of my friendships are superficial, and I often stop investing in them after a while. However, my persistent openness and acceptance during the internship can enable me to develop more meaningful friendships in my personal life. By persistently caring for someone, they will most likely, in return, begin caring for me as well. In addition, I realized how much more fulfilled and energized I felt during the 8 weeks I worked for Moss Adams. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I was so happy throughout the entire 8 weeks, and it was all because I chose to serve others rather than serve myself.
– Amanda Walsh