Handshake student stories

Facing Fears: How to Embrace “Failure” at Work

Little misses at your job or internship can shape big wins for your future.

For many college seniors, the summer before graduation is a great time to start building solid career foundations. Putting hard work into a summer internship for a great company can really pay off for rising seniors. Sometimes, it even leads to a full-time return offer! With your experience at the company fresh and familiar, many employers are open to hiring you back after the school year ends so you can continue amazing work on their teams. Plus, this is a vital opportunity to learn a valuable lesson for your career: sometimes, mistakes make a job more meaningful.

An inevitable aspect of starting a new role is making a mistake or two along the way. One of the most exciting and humbling experiences can be learning from your failures, ultimately becoming stronger because of them. Even when performing well at your job or internship, you’ll experience wins and losses. Occasionally, there may be times when you miss a deadline, a presentation doesn’t quite land, or an email slips through the cracks. With sincerity and an open mind, our mistakes can turn into chances for growth and learning.

Turning little misses into growth opportunities

Maddy Kristensen, a recent graduate of UC Berkeley, secured her full-time job using the summer internship path. In the summer of 2019, after applying through Handshake, she began an internship at Box. There, she proceeded to impress the Box team so much that they hired her in fall 2020 as a full-time employee.

Now, Maddy works as a Sales Development Representative–SDR, for short—speaking with all sorts of organizations to see if Box might be a good fit to benefit their business. And while the SDR role is still new and fresh, Maddy is already gaining perspective and insight on how to grow in her job.

“I’m a perfectionist to a fault, which is something you can’t be in sales because obviously you are not going to land every call and nail every Box pitch, especially when first starting out. Box has really challenged me to not be so afraid of failure and to actually embrace it.”

Maddy on a valuable learning at Box

Maddy’s experiences have allowed her to gain priceless firsthand industry knowledge. Sure, she won’t land every pitch—but with every call, she learns a bit more about how to serve prospective clients, navigate the sales development process, and speak to the value of the Box product. The passion Maddy has for her role will surely propel her into a long, successful career helping others visualize dynamic change for their own companies.

Maddy is just one amazing example of the fantastic Handshake grads who continue to make a difference in a plethora of different businesses and industries around the country. Their experiences and insights have great impacts—not only for their direct network, but for Handshakers everywhere.

Do you have a Handshake success story you’d like to share? We’d love to hear it! Email stories@joinhandshake.com to get started.