As I bragged about my summer internship with the LPF and LPM to my college coworkers and friends, I explained that I would be working for a B2B magazine that focused on loss prevention. That statement typically warranted two questions:
- “What is a B2B magazine?”
- “What does loss prevention even mean?”
Well, I could answer the first question pretty easily, but struggled a bit with the second one. What did loss prevention even mean? Did it mean catching giggling pre-teens in a convenience store who had just shoved a pack of gum in their pocket? Did it have anything to do with Paul Blart and his extremely influential role in mall security? My response typically included the phrase, “I guess I’ll find out soon enough,” and I surely did find out soon enough.
Though I could write about all of the new things that I know about loss prevention, I’m not going to. If you’re reading this, then you most likely work in LP, and you most likely know what your job entails. I’m not going to waste your time with an article that gives you the cookie cutter definition of what you do every single day. The loss prevention industry doesn’t even have a cookie cutter definition of what happens every day, so I would also be making you read an article filled with lies. Instead, I think it’s time that maybe the intern did a little teaching herself. So here’s a little something—from me, to you.
Take a Chance on the College Kid
You most likely either think that my generation is going to change the world for the better and fix all of the social and economic problems, or you think that we are lazy excuses for human beings who are overly obsessed with screens and strange music. Though I’m not sure if either of those descriptions fit us perfectly—I would like to think that we’re somewhere in the middle (and maybe leaning a bit more toward those who change the world).
Bringing a college student into your company with very little knowledge of who they are except for a resume and a letter of recommendation is scary. You don’t want to waste time or money on someone that might not help the growth of your business, I get it. However, if you don’t take the leap, then you might be missing out on an amazing opportunity. Our generation holds new ideas and creative processes, so why not shake it up a little bit? Why not hear what the future minds of the industry have to say? Everyone has to start somewhere, and wouldn’t you love to be the starting point on their road trip to success?
Don’t You Dare Close Your Mind
Don’t do it. Don’t close your mind off just yet. I know that your idea is better than everyone else’s, and I know that you know everything that is best for your team. However, just open your mind a little bit more and see what other ideas are on the table. When you choose to close your mind off from others’ ideas, opinions, beliefs, or discussions, you have immediately lost your fight. Your mind and thoughts were threatened, so you cowered away—causing an immediate forfeit.
Just like I know that your idea is better than everyone else’s, I also know that you don’t like to forfeit a fight. Allow others to share their ideas and create an environment where individuals can respectfully challenge each other’s minds to become stronger. As a team, you lose together and you succeed together. The success of those around you allows you to look more successful as well. Make sure to remember that before you shut off your ‘listening ears.’
Pour Into Your People
Give people your all. The team I work with at LPF and LPM has poured time, knowledge, compassion, and encouragement into me, and I couldn’t be more grateful. This was my first internship, and I am really thankful for what a wonderful experience it was. I was given the opportunity to work through my LPQualified, travel to NRF PROTECT with my team, meet a lot of amazing people, write impactful articles on social matters, and I didn’t even have to get coffee for anyone! In fact, one of my bosses actually brought me coffee on my first day—how cool!
Each of my team members made sure that I took something away from these eight weeks. I learned something different from each of them and am happy to have them in my corner for whatever I need in the future. Though having an intern around might mean a couple of extra minutes spent explaining a concept or one more person’s ideas to listen to, the patience and time you put into them will mean a lot. Trust me.
So, even though I’m the one who did most of the learning this summer, I hope I was able to give back to those who taught me. I am proud to be the first ever LPF/LPM intern, and know that there will be many others to follow. Thank you to Terry Sullivan for taking a chance on the college kid. Thank you to Mat Schriner for dealing with my office sarcasm on Mondays and for the Dunkin’ coffee on my first day. Thank you to Jac Britain for always having life advice ready for me when I don’t necessarily ask for it, but probably need it. Thank you to Courtney Wolfe for making me feel like an absolute superstar from day one. And thank you to every other person on this team who welcomed me with open arms and an open mind.
Though I’m not sure if I can give the perfect definition of loss prevention quite yet, I sure have learned a lot of other things. Thanks for the memories, LPF and LPM!