Internships and Goals

So today is my third day at my Writer’s Digest internship, Friday the 13th–go figure. So far, it’s been bumpy, but overall really fantastic.

Due to crazy restructuring by the parent company, I am probably one of the very few interns around this spring which is probably how they found it in their budget to offer me some sweet office swag (see picture).

I’ve already noticed things are a little different than my last F&W Media internship. Aside from the surprising turnover in staff, the way my internship functions is much more hands off. I think everyone is too busy to worry about the intern. I am given more freedom and am not overseen quite as much, but I am still very busy, may even busier. Not to mention the tasks I’m given are all in some way related to something that I’m actually interested in. Copy edits, website descriptions–everything I’m doing is awesome.

Of course the freedom and lack of direction from a specific supervisor comes with a change in approach to this internship. There was no first day conversation about what I hope to learn and there was no “here is what is expected of you/what you will get out of this” chat either. I am 100% alright with this because I came in prepared.

In my effort get the most out of this incredible opportunity, I will be doing the following three things which are great to think about for any internship or career opportunity.

1) Have set goals and discuss them with the boss. Although my boss is out of the office frequently, I have his phone number and email and I am encouraged to contact him. One thing I will make sure to do is discuss with him the things I want to get out of this internship–industry contacts, editing experience, etc.– and ask him who I should talk to and what he suggests I focus on to achieve these goals. Plus, this means he can start sending the more relevant projects my way and introduce me to the right people.

2) Never turn anything down. This is a hard one because I’ve already found myself fairly busy and people are always asking me if I have time to do this, or that. I always try to say yes, (unless I’m under a crazy deadline). I want to dip my hands in everything they do here and I want to work with everyone at least once. Am I busy because of it? Yes, but it also makes my day fly by. And I think I will be more rewarded for it in the end.

3) Talk to everyone about what they do. This internship is first and foremost a learning experience and I plan to treat it as one. I will do my best to grab lunch with everyone, stop by their office for a chat, or even just bribe them with a coffee in the morning. I want them to show me what they do and how they do it, introduce me to everyone they know in the industry, and in general just get on the inside track to how it all happens.

Internships are all different and some are more guided than others, but they all seem to be incredibly necessary when trying to break into this industry. So getting everything you can out of them is more important now than ever.

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Filed under Publishing Industry, Working Girl

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