When choosing a wedding dress, most brides put on the first dress and are immediately amazed at how spectacular they look and feel. They cannot imagine anything more perfect, and they can visualize themselves beginning a happy marriage — sealed with a kiss — in that dress.
They are blissful… and then they try on another dress.
Immediately, they begin to have doubts about the first dress, as this one is equally beautiful. If these two were so amazing, then the third must be even better!
The third is the worst of all; and the fourth does not give the bride the same enjoyment as the first two. The discouraged bride then tries on the first dress once more, and tears flow down her face. This is the dress she was meant to choose. If only she didn’t have to try on the others to be sure of her decision.
But shopping for a wedding dress is not like shopping for a career — at least you wouldn’t think so. Once you leave a particular career, it is very difficult to return to it. It is not as simple as trying on the same dress that is still hanging in your dressing room. Years have passed, you have outgrown the dress, and your life experience has made you see the “dress” in a different light.
I landed my first internship as a college freshman. It was at Citrix Systems in the Talent Acquisition department. Still so young, I did not have an exact idea of what I wanted to do with my life, but I had a feeling that Citrix would guide my path.
I fell in love with the Citrix culture that was founded on Integrity, Respect, Curiosity, Courage, and Unity. I was not treated like “just” an intern; I was never asked to get a co-worker’s coffee or run their errands. My ideas were valued and more importantly, they were encouraged. I was given real tasks where I could learn and build my personal repertoire and skills. And the most surprising part? No one was holding my hand through every step of a project. The content that I created was trusted by my team as if a more experienced team member had completed it. I had only amazing things to say about my first work experience. On the final day of my 12-week internship, tears rolled down the faces of my co-workers. They did not want me to leave, and neither did I.
As a college sophomore with one impressive internship already under my belt, a bold, new horizon of opportunities had opened up before me. I stood a fighting chance as a candidate for many companies now that I was experienced. Many of my friends and advisors told me that I should apply to internship positions elsewhere.
“Don’t limit yourself!” they said. “You’re young. Experience new things!” they said.
Sure, there are plenty of opportunities elsewhere. And sure, it was possible that since it was my first time ever having a job/internship, I thought it was amazing simply because I did not know better.
But I loved going to work at Citrix every day. My co-workers felt like family. My work was valued and implemented in projects across the world. For me, it was an obvious decision to return for a second internship with the company, and that’s just what I did. I had tried on the first dress, and knew that it was the right fit, right from the start.
My advice to Citrix interns, and interns at other companies around the world:
Trust your gut instinct. If you truly enjoy what you currently have, do not let others tell you that you could be happier elsewhere. Decide your own path; opportunities will always exist.