Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Life as an Intern

I have been very lucky so far when it comes to internships. As you may recall, I spent 8 months interning at Bloomingdale's and I could not have had a better experience there. Now I have moved on to a public relations agency that specializes in fashion. PR is a very different environment than a corporate retail one and I am starting to adjust to the faster, more urgent nature of this particular area of the industry. I do a lot of things in a given day. From the less glamorous jobs of stuffing invitations, running errands (I was box shopping today) and generating lists to the more exciting projects of writing pitches and working a runway show, PR covers a lot of ground. To be perfectly honest, I don't mind doing the little things that most interns roll their eyes at. I appreciate when we're told why we're doing what we're doing, so that I can understand the bigger picture and really start to see how this industry works. With all of the "big" projects, come ten times more "small" projects. It seems that for every ten "small" projects I do, one "big" one comes along, and that is definitely worth it.

I have heard horror stories from friends and classmates. An intern at a well known designer was required to exit the elevator if said designer entered. A friend of a friend was asked to go to her boss' house and walk their dog! I heard one tonight in class that is arguably my favorite so far, one of my classmate's responsibilities as an intern is to make sure that her boss is properly hydrated at all times. I kid you not! She has to periodically check and make sure there is a full water bottle on her boss' desk at all times.

Hearing all these dreaded tales of interns makes me realize how good I've had and got it. The agency I work in is busy, loud, sometimes chaotic but always creative. There is an open communication between everyone on the team which allows for a very genuine, almost organic way of working together. I had a moment today that made me smile. I was out looking for magazines at the corner store that I've been to almost everyday for the last two weeks. The man working there surely recognizes me by now. I couldn't find what I was looking for and like always, he said "come back later". He told me he had six boxes he had to go through but he was sure what I was searching for was in there. He hesitated only slightly before saying he would go through the boxes right now if I could wait. So I did and he did, all six of them (Murphy's Law, it's always in the last box you open!). I took my eight magazines up to the counter and began to pay for them when he asked what kind of company I work for. I explained to him it was a PR agency and that I bought magazines because our clients were featured in them. He asked me what PR was so I explained that our job is to get our client's names out and keep track of when they get out. He looked at me thoughtfully and asked, "it's like marketing?". I took away all the fancy definitions and jargon and simplified what it is PR does and, while it's so much more than "just marketing", he got it and that made me smile. It's moments like these that only an intern who is out buying magazines for the umpteenth time can experience, and while some may consider this one of the "small" things, these are the moments I will remember.


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