Don’t Waste Time Turning Weaknesses Into Strengths

We are a big fan of interns here at 8BIT and even though we’ve only been around a little over a year, we’ve already had 5 interns. We love giving an all-access pass to young, rising professionals in our industry. And when I say all-access, I mean it! Much like 37signals, whom it is no secret we have a crush on, our organizational structure is flat. Hierarchies have their place to be sure, but we intentionally make little use of them in our org chart.

One of the by-products of this philosophy is that our interns, and even our embedded contractors, have full disclosure with our business. They know how much money we are bringing in, they have a say in how we are spending capital, and can therefore give educated counsel to us as we make decisions that guide the growth of our company.

Seriously, if you knew how transparent we are with each other, you’d probably question our judgement.

One such intern is Alex Morrison. He came in and from the very beginning he understood us, accepted us with all our quirks and character flaws (yes, we have them) and he fit right in.

But their was an unexpected twist in his journey with us that was, as they say, a career limiting style event.

Alex came in as a Design Intern and all was well and good, but our beloved intern had a bit of a professional identity crisis part way through the program. “I’m not sure I want to be a designer,” he said. “I’d much rather code CSS and markup.” This posed a problem because we really needed a designer! That’s why we went through the trouble of interviewing design students and freelance designers. It put us in a bind and threatened our milestones.

So we did what you’re supposed to do in those situations. We fired him with malice.

I thanked him for wasting our time and congratulated him on burning a bridge forever. Then I gave him 2 purple nurples, a wedgie AND an Indian burn that left a scar to this very day.

OK, that’s not exactly true.

We place a high value on transparency. As providence would have it, part of our culture is for each member of the team to focus on making our strengths stronger, and not burn unnecessary cycles trying to make our weaknesses into strengths. Don’t miss that! We want to love our work! And for that to happen, we need to feel free to gravitate towards the things that feel effortless to us. The work that recharges our batteries, and not churn and grind on things that sap our energy and make us miserable.

So when Alex came to us in full honesty and humility, and told us he preferred to be coding CSS and markup more than slinging pixels around in photoshop, we embraced him and we immediately started adapting his role to his interests and strengths. We’re a team and we stick together.

The result? He delivered. Big time.

Check out our product site that he implemented for Standard Theme. Or our new 8BIT landing page. He also created an as-yet-unreleased Standard Theme customization. And before he changed to the developer role, he polished and prepared our Standard Theme design kit.

It really has been a blast having Alex on the team. And even though his internship has ended, his relationship with the 8BIT family has not. He was with us during some monumental events in our young organization’s life and he made his mark on our team in his own, unique way.

If you need web development work done, contact Alex. His site is http://whatalexdoes.com and Don’t miss his portfolio!

Thanks again, Alex. The honor was ours. You joined us, improved us, and left us better than you found us. Our hope is that you can say the same about us.

Alex has been an 8BIT intern success story from beginning to end.¬†We’re grateful!

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