Being an intern

Whether you're in uni, working towards your dream career or just wanting to see what it's like, an internship is something I strongly suggest you do at least once in your life. It's probably one of the only instances when working for free seems okay in the right environment.

I've finished my last internship and this made me want to write a little something about what it's like, what you should look for and if you're working for free, realising that you're not getting paid.

Look for the right thing 

"Work like you don't need the money"
Pretty boring and un-original, but it's true. If you're gonna work for free, you might as well want to do it for free. I want to work in marketing/PR and it being so broad, you need to search for a niche that you give a shit about. It doesn't have to exactly have to be the thing you want to do for the rest of your life, but for the time being is perfect. My first internship was being a marketing assistant for a fitness company in a time when I was a "do you even lift bro?" gal and then music PR doing something i've always cared about.

You need to genuinely want to find addresses and package 90 promotional CDs; not because you love the post office and that walk is a breathtaking view, but because you care about the outcome.

You are working for free

"We can pay you in experience"

Yeah I guess...ish. They say knowledge is the real prize, but to a point. I haven't been paid for any of my internships and i'll be honest, it can really freaking suck. The way to get around this is to simply remind yourself that you are working for free, and if you feel like you're being treated harshly, not getting anything out of it, or even feel like you're doing too much for nothing, then get the fuck out. You ain't got a contract and you ain't got a good internship if so.

I've never earned that dollah, but i've mostly only ever done part time and I also work at The Diner full-time. When I need a day off I usually get and one of my last gave me two weeks off to do my dissertation, as well as getting guestlist/records on occasion. Apart from the horrible guilt I feel when I can't come in, you need to work for someone who appreciates you as much as you appreciate a great team of people hiring someone who probably doesn't know what they're doing.

I think it's wrong to work any longer than a month for free at any company. I have done a brutal 9am-6pm five days a week, but it was only for a month and it pays expenses. Unless they offer you money, complete flexibility or some kind of unlimited free shit, know you're worth and that magazine offering you a full-time three month internship are probably not worth the name on your CV. Maybe if you had some kind of guarantee for a job after it might be more worth it, but nah probably not.

Internships > Degree

"You need a degree to get a job"
I've just finished university after what feels like a lifetime of £9000+ a year debt and with us being in year four of Tory bullshit, higher education probably won't get any cheaper. Even before I decided to scoop my life up into a suitcase aiming for a degree, I was a big believer that you don't need a degree to get your job in anything other than being a Doctor. This makes me a massive hypocrite I admit, however I wanted to move to London, didn't have any money and Student Finance would give me a break from working full-time in CEX whilst letting me live in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

Internships cans give the kind of hands on education that most universities fail to give unless you get yourself a placement year (aka an internship). Obviously it can depend on what area you want to work in, but especially creative sectors experience counts. My course was horrendously outdated with just one short module on digital marketing, so I 100% needed the work experience to use certain software, beat the shit out of excel and know my way round Mailchimp like nobodies business.

Don't be afraid to quit

"Don't quit because something went wrong, quit because you tried your hardest and nothing made it better"

Lame quote of the day, but there's all kinds of truth in this. I am not afraid to say that I quit my last internship two and a half weeks in. From the start I didn't get a good feeling about it and I am someone to trust my gut, however I thought a day isn't enough to judge a job so I gave it a shot. Without sounding bitter about the whole situation, I really did not fit in and I felt that this was noticed by the lack of interaction between me and everyone else. Needless to say I just gave every shitty task my best with the hope of being given actual work, not tasks to keep my busy. This horrible dread of getting up in the morning, with serious anxiety attack about a job I wasn't getting paid for and just a week in was feeling just not worth it. I still didn't give up and continued, I even spoke to head of HR about not getting anything out of it. Alas this still didn't help, so that was that and I left. 

Will I regret it? Probably, but hey at the age of 25 I'd like to think I know when something is not meant to be.

What now?

I am in the post-uni k-hole of emotions that I thought would be reserved for the mood swings of pregnancy. Exhaustingly applying for jobs and waking up to rejection emails that hammer away at any remaining confidence.

But that's normal right?