By Adrianna Burton, technical writing intern
At the end of my second year as an English major at the University of California, Irvine, my imagination of a future career path was almost nonexistent. Like the any other second years concerned for future job security and not knowing what career they want to pursue, I decided to apply for an internship in order to help narrow down my idea of the future and become a more competitive job applicant. With experience in communication, daycare, and writing I felt prepared to take on the job market. But, much like my previous work experience, I was a jack of all trades seeking a specialization. While I applied far and wide, I ended up close to home, at Smiths Detection as a technical writing intern. With the motivation of getting one step closer to deciding what I want to do with my degree, I decided to fully use all the opportunities Smith Detection would provide.
My first day on the job felt similar to other office jobs I had held in the past. But while the environment was similar, the actual job of reviewing engineers’ documents, correcting and updating, and acting as the second in command for a small writing department wonderfully exceeded my expectations. Unlike other internships, were I felt like more like a coffee-fetcher, grunt worker, or task robot, at Smiths Detection I was a valued member of the team.
As I took on more responsibilities, I realized that at Smiths Detection, we work hard, and play hard. Experiences like remote team-building, ice cream socials, and Friday breakfast were the highlights that helped me bond with my fellow interns and made me passionate about coming in to work and put 100% effort in every day. By the midpoint of my internship, I learned a lot, and the regular checklists and minutia of the job no longer seemed daunting. I felt confident in my ability to be a technical writer and provide my team with the support we need to ensure global safety, a mission statement that drew me to the company and servers as a daily beacon of motivation.
Thanks to my manager, Tom, I met many engineers and came to comprehend the internal function of Smiths Detection technologies, which is a unique scientific outlook that I would not have gotten elsewhere. Yet, my main internship learning outcome had been career planning, so I asked for some experience in a different area: marketing and public relations. I was quickly assigned to assist with Family Day organization, press release drafting, and a social media marketing campaign. During this internship, Smiths Detection not only challenged me, but made me feel excited to find new tasks and give them my all.
Seeing the smiles on my coworkers and family’s faces on Family Day only reaffirmed that, in the future, I want to work at a company that values not only work ethic, but the work-life balance of its employees, like we do at Smiths. The flexibility and caring culture way of life at Smiths exceeded my expectations for a short summer internship—thanks to the openness of my internship coordinator, the welcoming attitude of the communications team, the support of my fellow interns, and the support of my manager, I was able to branch out and find my role within a company that truly embodies the values of service and safety.
[Photo: Lawrence Wong, Adrianna Burton, Jonathan Yun, Zaki Khan, Andrew Lee, and Ben Crossley]