Work and Play Can Be Synonymous: A Millennial’s Perspective

July 19, 2013

Editor’s Note: This is part of a series of blog posts by LinkedIn’s rockstar summer interns. Today, we hear from Cassandra Brown, an intern working in Recruiting Central Services.

Millennials can be a tricky bunch. The majority of us were raised alongside our favorite companion, the Internet. This has made us a bit different from other generations. For one thing, we have an addiction to instant gratification (see Instant Messaging and Instagram), but the way we approach work is also different from other generations. According to LinkedIn’s Global Head of Talent Acquisition - Campus, Tey Scott, millennials respond to different management techniques in the workplace.

Despite our many defining characteristics, what I think really sets millennials apart from others is the way we approach work and how we interpret the phrase “Work Hard, Play Hard”.

intern boat cruise

I started my internship in Recruiting Central Services at LinkedIn with my eyes wide open, ready to learn, and with an ambitious spirit that I could conquer any task thrown my way. I’ve been with LinkedIn for eight weeks now and feel just as energized and passionate about my work as the first day I started. The secret? A variety of projects that allow me to inject my own interests and fun into making them a success.

Here are my favorite examples of how I'm able to make work synonymous with play:

Rock climbing to recruit engineers

One of my projects is to curate status updates for engineers who follow our LinkedIn Company Page. My goal with these status updates is to showcase LinkedIn’s culture and passion for engineering projects. My quest for quality content led me to the engineering team’s work space, 7 feet off the ground on an indoor climbing wall.

I found this wall while I was on a mission to collect photos from various engineers’ work areas during LinkedIn’s “Space Lift” challenge, an internal competition to see who can decorate their work spaces the best. I heard one of the most epic work environment revamps was by our Distributed Data Systems team, who had gone above and beyond to build a horizontally scalable rock wall. Needless to say, I got a great photo and I couldn’t wait to share it with our members.

Lessons from pop culture

Another project of mine this summer is producing content for the LinkedIn Talent Solutions Blog. My goal is to create relevant, engaging posts that recruiters want to share. What better place to look for inspiration than the king of viral content BuzzFeed? With my manager’s support, I reached out to a few of their writers to learn how they create engaging content. While the recruiters who read our Talent Solutions Blog aren’t necessarily looking for headlines like “21 Best Tumblr Reactions To ‘Game Of Thrones’ Red Wedding”, finding out how BuzzFeed writers collect content and tap into the psyche of their readers is useful for any blogger. I never would have thought that my (I’ll say minor) addiction to BuzzFeed would contribute to a project I was working on during my internship, but I was happy it did.

Many undergraduates look for an internship that will look good on their LinkedIn profiles and resumes, while also giving them the ideal “work hard, play hard” balance. This summer, I was fortunate enough to find that balance during my internship at LinkedIn. This post might be completely against anything we’ve ever learned in school, but work and play can be synonymous.

During your internship approach each task with an open mind – you don’t always have to take the standard, run-of-the-mill steps to getting things done. In the end, you will actually be more successful if you find passion in the way you perform the necessary tasks to deliver on your projects. At a place like LinkedIn, I can be successful in all of my projects in any way I choose. I can bring the things I am already passionate about to work with me every day, and that is truly what the work/play balance is all about.