Enjoying Flexibility Without Sacrificing Accountability

One of the many things I enjoy about the office environment here at Sharp is the flexibility. All employees are working on a variety of client accounts at one time, and in different capacities. These employees report up to a series of account executives and directors, who are in charge of overseeing all aspects of client management. This adaptable and diversified work environment also makes the organization of my day-to-day tasks more relaxed, as I can shift when I complete certain projects depending on the priority level and my workload during any given week. However, sometimes this flexibility can create too little stability in my everyday work life. Leaders in every space are tasked with providing vision and direction for their followers, keeping them on track towards achieving their goals while reminding them of the company’s values and larger mission.  Occasionally this vision and the plan to execute it do not reach all the way down to the lower levels of the company, leaving employees like myself with little direction to guide our work or affirmation that the work we are doing is useful and beneficial. While of course not every task I receive needs to be talked through (some of them are very straightforward) ordinarily, whenever I receive a new project, one of my multiple superiors will talk through the instructions with me. She then goes on to explain what the project will be used for, and outline how she and the rest of that client’s team will use this information to pitch a media outlet, update a client on our progress, or gather ideas for new media activations and partnerships. But, every once in a while, I will be simply emailed or Slacked some basic instructions and a deadline with little else to go on. I have found that during particularly busy and stressful periods, many of the background information that usually accompanies my work instructions are lost, leaving me with no context as to what purpose this project will serve. This diminishes my ability to provide useful and timely information for my team that will actually further their client goals. It also means that my projects may be delayed or canceled altogether because I have no concept of how this task fits into an on-going project, the project’s proposed timeline, or who else I am sharing work with. This leads to hours and sometimes full days of wasted work. Of course, as an intern, I do not expect to be privy to every high-level planning decision. I also do not mind completing classic “intern” tasks, like making deliveries or administrative organizing— it allows me the chance to learn valuable office skills. However, I have found that when I can see how and why my work is useful to the larger office, I produce much better work and feel more engaged with my superiors and co-workers.