From Samsung Intern to Full-Time Employee
Looking back as I prepared to graduate college last year, I had a vision of an ambitious career trajectory ahead of me and I wasn’t keen on swaying from that path. Not unlike my peers, I was under the impression that if I wanted to end my career at a single destination, there was only one path to get there. Now, one year after completing a rewarding summer internship with Samsung Electronics America, the truth is that I did sway from that vision, but I don’t regret it. Here’s what I learned along the way.
Don’t be afraid to change your mind, just be honest about why you’re doing it.
The vision I had for myself upon graduating didn’t consist of working in the tech industry – instead, I wanted to pursue a career in environmental sustainability. That’s why, when I was offered a full-time position with Samsung, I turned it down. I didn’t consider the benefits that the opportunity could provide and only focused on whether the job title aligned perfectly to where I wanted to be. What I soon found was that a job title only explains what projects you might be working on (if that), but it doesn’t encompass the connections you’ll make, the exposure you’ll gain to new businesses and leadership, or even the skills you’ll obtain along the way. I quickly discovered that the expertise I would develop at Samsung could tie directly to my career aspirations in environmental sustainability.
Two months after declining the job offer with Samsung, I asked to be reconsidered. Many of us changed our majors multiple times during college, and that uncertainty doesn’t stop at graduation. Changing your mind just means that you’ve learned something new and want to explore this new discovery. If I hadn’t taken those two months to reconsider my career path, I would have never realized all of the opportunities available at Samsung that can propel me to my ultimate career goals.
Your internship builds the foundation of your future career network.
No matter what organization or stage in your career you’re in, surrounding yourself with people who support both your personal and professional development can alter your career path tremendously. I have had fantastic bosses and colleagues in the past, but none compared to those I found at Samsung. Even after I declined the full-time job offer initially, I had dozens of coworkers reach out to me asking how they can help me get where I wanted to go. I had just turned down a job opportunity with these individuals and they selflessly wanted to help me reach my professional goals.
Since joining Samsung as a full-time employee, I’ve gained tremendous exposure to the environmental sustainability department and created invaluable connections with industry leaders. More importantly, though, I found a greater love, appreciation, and passion for the work that I’m doing right now because of the people I work with every day. There is an immense amount of growth that occurs during an internship and those who watch you develop in those first few years of your career are the foundation for your future career network.They can be the reason you finally arrive at that long-awaited destination.
Work to learn
It doesn’t matter if you’re beginning your career at a small startup company in a garage or at a global organization. As long as you walk away from the experience with greater knowledge than you entered with, the experience will be worth it. This is a key discovery I made after I left Samsung. There are endless paths to reach the same destination. Just because you didn’t follow the same path as someone else doesn’t mean you’ll be less competitive in the job market. Developing a diverse set of skills that translate to any career is invaluable. For example, as someone interested in entering the environmental sustainability field, I need to learn about project management, finance, and have solid communication skills. I don’t have to be at a nonprofit to learn these traits, and it might help that I also have knowledge of the corporate side of bill as well.
In my four short months as a full-time employee at Samsung Electronics America, I have already found myself contributing to projects with a far greater scope than I could have had exposure to within my original career vision. I’ve had a tangible impact on this global organization and expanded my network through the help of numerous colleagues scattered throughout the business. However, I am also grateful that I gave myself the time to consider my career journey. No career is linear, but you can always find your way to your preferred destination by making the most of the opportunity in front of you.