shirt backs - no coffeeA funny thing happened about 3 weeks into my internship at Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. There I was, tweeting away like a good social media intern, when one of our supervisors got all our attention. She told us that at the end of each day, we were to email her (or tweet at her, we are social media interns after all), and tell her one thing that we learned that day. We called it our TIL or Today I Learned.

I won’t lie. At first I thought to myself “Oh my god, it’s like I’m back in high school”. Because, come on, of COURSE I was learning things. That’s what an internship is all about. Why did I have to specifically state what I’d learned?

But as the summer went on and I did this every day, I realized I’m still young and I really don’t know everything, because my supervisor was totally onto something.

Because here’s the thing: sitting down every day and actually thinking about what I learned was pretty mind blowing. There were so many things that I would have to tell her in just a day that most days it was hard to pick just one thing. I started to realize just how much I was taking in every day. Quite a few times I would be reflecting, and I would surprise myself with the information I had retained.

Now let me be clear; I learned a ton about social media and marketing in general. I had no idea when I started that every detail in every piece of direct mail was a conscious decision. I had no idea when I started that it is a very bad idea to start a business using personal credit. And I had no idea that a business should be verified in order to grow. But in addition to all this, I learned about life in the business world.

I realized how much it effects a company culture to have a CEO that believes in learning from failure. It’s incredibly freeing. Now I’m not saying he encourages reckless behavior; but taking a calculated risk and having it fail? That’s a gold mine of knowledge.

I learned how important it is to have a company culture where employees are encouraged to try new things and be innovative thinkers. It shows it’s leaders are open to new ideas and ways of thinking and take what their employees say seriously. Having your voice heard is a great motivator.

I also learned how wonderful it is to have supervisors who actually care about your success. By asking us to write down what we learned, she was making sure that we had actually learned something that day instead of just hanging around. She was truly invested in our success as employees and our education, and that in turn made me more invested.

So for my supervisor, here it is. My one big Today I Learned for the entire summer. It’s been a great run, and as you can see, I have in fact, learned a lot.