Putting the S in Progress
Image: Headquarters interns participate in the annual Tomato Royale Food Fight in the Twin Cities.
I identify myself as a writer. Whether I am organizing a technical document or unleashing my creative spirit on paper, I try to review each word for elegance and sentence for style. My philosophy was that one spelling mistake could ruin a reputation.
When I started at Target I immediately jumped into a project documenting how Target team members would use a new application and how Target Technology Services would support it. Making technology easier and more accessible is one of my biggest passions. I spent the first week reviewing material and condensing it into a guide that could be universally understood. One of the lessons I learned from technical writing was how to make a large impact with the fewest words possible.
Once I was finished, I prepared for feedback. As I hit SEND I was confident the team would be impressed with my document. A few days later I received an email from a team member highlighting a glaring spelling mistake. Right there on the front page, I had left one critical “s” off of the word “assess.” This document was shared with not just my team, but people all across Target. I was mortified.
Hanging my head low, I went to tell my manager. The minute the words left my mouth he bent over with laughter and I could not help but join in. He said, “This will be a great story to tell the interns when you start working here. Life is about progress, not perfection.” This was a philosophy he embodied and I realized that part of creating a successful document meant making a few mistakes and seeking feedback from your peers. This was not the end of my career with Target; it was just something that happened.
My embarrassing story became a topic of conversation. Other members of my team opened up about their first mistakes and we all joked about lessons learned. Looking back it seems more embarrassing that I felt like one outrageous spelling error was such a big deal. Since then I have taken more risks, voiced more of my ideas and shared my set-backs with others. I have progressed in my internship through this experience and have realized in order to make a good impression it is about handling challenges with grace instead of precision.
Post by Leah, headquarters Target Technology Services intern
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