Thursday, July 29, 2010

I Am Interning in a Material World… and I am a Material Girl!

Where else can you have a job where you can attend exclusive previews of new products from huge companies, be given awesome gift bags, and request free samples of anything from gummy bears to blow dryers? This is life in the publishing industry. My favorite part of my internship is definitely going to events. The editors get invited to so many previews and launches that I wind up going to most of them — sometimes as many as four in one day! The picture is my loot from one of my busier event days this week. All I have to do is show up, take notes, and bring back the press kit and whatever other goodies I’m given!

One of the perks I sometimes get is transportation — a lot of the events will provide a car service if you request it. This is especially nice when it’s raining outside or if the event is so far away that you’d need to take a bus, a subway and walk for 20 minutes to get there! For one event, I even had a car pick me up at my house outside of the city and bring me to the event in the morning. It took an hour and a half to get to the event, as opposed to the 45 minutes it would have taken me with my normal commute, but the experience was worth it.

As my internship has progressed, I’ve grown more confident in this world and have learned more about interacting with people at these events.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

On the Future (Part II) 

Internships are multifaceted organisms. So many things must function properly for it to work correctly. Your boss, your colleagues, the city you’re in, the office itself, your tasks… they are all details that can make or break your experience.

But let’s analyze internships for what they really are: a chance to experience a possible future. In a way, it’s like trying on gloves, or shoes… which one fits best? Which one will be more useful? Which one are you dying to get…even though you’re not sure why? This is my sixth internship and I can finally say that I, more or less, know what I want to do with my life (figuring out how to get there is a totally different story – as you may have noticed from my previous apocalyptic, depressing post).

The decision regarding a future career is based on a myriad of things. Let’s move on step by step:

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Oh, edsters.

I’ve been buried under a pile of research — I’m pretty impressed with myself that I’ve been able to surface and write this post. We’ve been hard at work on one of The Mag’s best-selling issues of the year, which means a TON of research (literally, we print out all of our records, and I’d be willing to bet my life that it weighs at least a ton).

For the past two weeks, the edit interns and I have been slammed with work. We barely have time to do transcriptions or run errands or pitch. All the sudden, 8 interns feels like too little (and so does working for free, but that’s just part of the deal, right?) But we’re almost done with it, which is a big relief. I think I’m going to bake us a cake this weekend to celebrate. Even though its been a groan-worthy endeavor, it’ll be so cool to see the issue come out and know that the stuff we did, however tedious, is the backbone of the cover story.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Big Pay-Off

After almost a week off from work (Congrats to my roommate from NC who got married last weekend!), I am ready to head back to work. With a strong second wind (Hey, who hasn’t gotten tired of waking up early everyday!), I’m on a mission.

I still haven’t gotten a chance to write a clip for our website. It’s just bad luck on my part. Intern 1 and 2 just happen to be at the right place at the right time. Their clips have been awesome (Who doesn’t like writing about table decorations and fireworks?) but I’m ready for my turn!

Here is my master plan: Casually run into the web editor at the freebies table (which is the watering hole of our office) or kitchen. Mention that things are a little slow and that I would love to help her out with anything she needs. If that doesn’t work, beg and maybe cry a little bit.

Ok maybe not beg and cry.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Interns, Do Your Part!

This week at work has been…frustrating. I know I’ve mentioned a few times that I’m now the only intern in my department at the magazine, but this week my workload really began to affect me. My tasks for this week included gathering products and helping the beauty editor set up for a run-through, requesting samples from toy companies for a holiday gift guide, brainstorming ideas for the December issue, and harassing people to send pictures for various features. I’m good at budgeting my time, so everything was going smoothly until I got a phone call from a woman at a company we needed pictures from. I’ve been in contact with this woman because I had to take over the assignment of ANOTHER intern who wasn’t showing up to the office. Seriously people, what is going on!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

On the Uncertainty of the Future

I’m in a bit of a sentimental mood today. I’m sitting at work, perusing the Web on an occasional moment of freedom. I start thinking about my job, and my future.

It’s already July, I go back to school for the last time in September, and I’m still unsure as to what the future holds.

For the first time in my life – I don’t know what’s coming next. While in elementary school, thoughts about how to lead your life rarely cross your mind, and you have the security of middle school in front of you. While in middle school, you are certain of what’s to come next. You might have to choose between several high schools, but you know, more or less, what your next four years will look like. Come your senior year of high school and things start to get a little tricky.

Suddenly, you have to make an active effort to assure yourself a future. Attend college? What college to apply to? What college to actually attend? Eventually, study-related questions start to arise. What do I want to major in? How much studying should I be putting into this class?

Towards the end of college, things start to get hard. All of a sudden, you find yourself completely unsure about what is it that you should be doing. That certainty that you previously had in the importance and comfort of the path of higher education is now missing. You might decide to go to grad school, but even that will most likely require you to find a temporary job to sustain yourself economically.

I am in this weird limbo.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Some Perfectly Timed Inspiration

While I feel like I should take this opportunity to be typically whiny about this oppressive heat wave we’re suffering through on the East Coast, its having a strange effect on me: I’m actually looking forward to coming to work MORE than usual.

I don’t know what your living situations are like, fellow interns, but my adorable abode is on the top floor of my apartment. And by adorable, I mean big, spacious of the pluses of not being in NYC is that a dining room and full kitchen with washer/dryer are in my price range! But safe to say that our one lonely AC and couple fans have just been blowing around hot, humid air all week and not much else. Hello, air conditioned office! I’m wearing a sweater as we speak, and it’s 95 outside. If I can’t be near a lake wrangling screaming kids into waterskis (which is way more fun than it sounds), this is the next best thing.

Anyways. This week we had our second intern brown bag lunch, which give us a chance to meet with some of the higher ups who work on different parts of The Mag.

Monday, July 19, 2010

How To Fact-Check Your Ass Off

I never realized just how much research goes into an article (and I know I'm not the only intern fact-checking away). If you haven’t had any experience with researching an article, let me explain the process. The article is written (usually outsourced from a freelance writer). Once the author submits the article, it goes to the research department, where it is usually passed on to yours truly. My job is to find the quotes in the original transcript, and highlight and number them according to the numbers on the original article.

It’s a complicated process that takes up most of my day. But it’s better than babysitting, which is what I would be doing at home! The best part of all this research is that when I see the finished article in the magazine, I’ll know that it was all me!

So far, my internship has gone off without a hitch. Unlike the first event I attended, the press junket I went to last week for the health editor went great. The editor asked me to get information on how children can get involved in community work. It won’t be featured in an article, but it will still be a little blurb on the health page. At first, I felt very intimidated, like everyone knew I was just an intern. But the women at my table were helpful and nice. Before I knew it, I was explaining my own ideas of how to get children involved in the community.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

How To Make The Most of Your Downtime

Initially, this post was going to be about how I hate having nothing to do at work. Then, since I’m now the only intern, I was given 400 things to do at the beginning of the week that have kept me busy every day. However, I’m still going to write about doing nothing because that’s how I’ve spent a lot of this internship.

While I can’t speak for everyone, I would say that the majority of interns are occasionally faced with periods of time when they have nothing to do. I’ve experienced more than enough lag time, especially in the mornings. I’d like to think I’m a pretty fast and efficient worker, so I usually get my tasks done quickly. While I like getting things out of the way, that just means I have to sit and think up ways to kill more time.

I don’t sit near any of the editors, so when I don’t have any work to do I can pretty much do what I want. Since I can’t leave the office because I never know when I’m going to get assigned a new task, this usually manifests in me going on Facebook or Twitter, reading the book I’ve brought, or watching a TV show on my computer. These are all terrible, terrible things to do — do not follow my lead.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

There Is Hope Out There

Last week, in the midst of major magazine turmoil, my boss asked me to venture out of my usual tasks and overtake a fact-checking assignment. Earning to momentarily rid myself of the monotony of the daily tasks that I had been assigned until then, I gladly accepted the offer.

Personally, I don’t view fact checking as an extremely difficult job. Tedious, yes. Crucial, yes. Possibly boring, yes. But hard? I don’t think so. It usually involves three parts (and this is for you aspiring fact-checkers):

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What To Do When There Are No Jobs Out There

Oh, Edsters. As if I - or all of you! - need another reminder that it's a tough business out there. I went for coffee a few days ago with The Mag's staff writer (yes, there's pretty much only one, along with a couple editors and some freelancers, who write the bulk of the well features) and got a pretty grim outlook. I also got a lot of good advice though, so there's always that!

Over coke and iced tea (neither of us are actually coffee drinkers, funnily enough) Staff Writer told me that The Mag is probably not going to hire anyone for a long, long time, and is operating very effectively as a bare bones staff right now. He also told me that I will probably not get to write very much, though I have already gotten a few bylines ("Wow," he said, as though that was a rare occurrence.) He said that their website is in shambles, which I don't think is completely true, though it could be a lot more effective.

But enough about the whole I'm-never-getting-a-job-at-The-Mag part. He did tell me a lot about how to flesh out some of my story ideas, and that I should write and pitch any chance I get, and that his door was always open (well, his cubicle doesn't have a door, but figuratively, it was great to hear). He told me about the stories he's working on, and asked me to do some research for him, and recommended I send some of my front-of-the-book pitches to the EIC. And all in all, I did get to know him better, which is always a good thing, especially since I still have my fingers crossed that I'll be working on staff with him (or in his position somewhere) someday.

Chins up, aspiring magazine writers and editors - there's hope for us yet.

P.S. I'm thinking I'm going to keep this "funny intern-related link" thing up. Check out this awesome craigslist posting.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Best Internship Ever

I hate math. Despise it was a deep passion. So when my editor said “Hey, convert these ounces to gallons,” I had a slight panic attack. After a sneaky call to my father who explained how to solve the problem, I surprised myself (and probably my editor!) by getting the correct outcome. Thanks, Dad! Unfortunately, my sixth grade teachers were right. You will use math for the rest of your life. Awesome.

I’m beginning to bond with the other interns. Intern 1 and Intern 2 are (so far…) awesome. It’s really nice having people to commiserate with when things get bad, share work with, and gossip with when things get slow.

Work is still pretty awesome. I’ve gotten some more research projects, which aren’t too terribly boring. It’s kind of fun pretending I’m someone special who can make demands and ask for special favors (Yes, I plan on taking advantage of the freebies that accompany my job! Don’t think less of me, Edsters). I still haven’t gotten any clips for the website, but fingers are still crossed!

Next week, I get to go to an event for the health editor. The last event I attended, I felt really out of place. I told the director of the event that I was an intern and immediately felt her disdain for me. The second she found out I was a lowly intern, she started treating me like a child. So I’ve learned my lesson. Unless they specifically ask, just let them assume you’re someone important! (Although I would argue that the offices would fall apart without the grunt work of interns…)

How is everyone’s internship going? Any one have any tips on how I can get that writing assignment?

Until next week,
Ed's Edit Intern

Friday, July 9, 2010

All By Myself

Good news: the other intern at my magazine is no longer working there. Bad news: the other intern at my magazine is no longer working there. This is good news because now I have plenty to do, not because I didn’t like her. However, this is very bad news because this week I’ve had too many phone calls to make, too many meetings to attend, and too many events to fit into one day!

The magazine has a pretty small staff, so when the other intern and I were both there we didn’t always have a lot to do. The editors would evenly split tasks and events to go to between us, but most of the time we sat by our computers and watched movies online (not good, I know). Most of you probably hear stories about interns being sent to pick up dry cleaning and fetch coffee — I would have loved to have been asked to do that!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

How To Fight The Monday Blues

When school is in session, I dread the arrival of an upcoming Sunday. That is because Sunday is super homework day. I need to plan my studying for the week, organize my interviews for my journalism classes, read most of the endless assigned pieces … and basically stay at home trying to diminish my workload for the days ahead. But during the summer, things are totally different. Sundays become precious. You don’t have those panicky, anxiety-filled dreams revolving around an upcoming test. Usually, you can wake up and decide to do something right then and there – with no planning ahead. Sunday really becomes the most relaxing and valued day of the week. So here goes the lesson of the week:

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Survivor: Intern Edition

Hey there lovely readers,

First thing's first. If I may, I just need to gush for a couple of sentences. I'm TOO PUMPED to be Ed's City Magazine Intern Blogger, and I can't tell anyone I know except for you guys! I'm going to really struggle with this whole secretive thing throughout this summer of blogging, but for the good of the blog/you, my wonderful fellow Edsters, I have been practicing serious restraint and kept my mouth shut. I just can't believe I've been stalking the site and this blog for years, and now get to be a part of it! Mind blowing.

Alright, gushing done.

Life at The Mag has been pretty slow lately. After my awesome clam-eating date with the food editor and getting to write a piece for the Style section last week (with a byline and everything, the holy grail of internships as far as I'm concerned), I'm starting to feel like anything else would pale in comparison. But really, this week has been making me go a little stir-crazy. I'm still trying to get a feel for the ebb and flow of the magazine's production schedule, but as of right now, things seem to get crazy busy/terribly boring at the drop of a dime.

Of course, I've been trying to keep myself busy even when there's no actual work to be done. However, the whole "trying to be an awesome, productive intern at all times" thing can get a little weird when there's lots of other interns around: I sometimes feel like I'm on Intern Survivor or something.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ed’s Edit Intern in the Big City

Hi fellow Edsters!

This summer is flying by. I can’t believe that it’s already July. In less than two months, I’ll be flying back home to a much less interesting life, without caramel cone ice cream (only the best Haagen Daaz flavor of ice cream that can’t be found in the Southern city where I live.)

My landlord (who also happens to be a family member that I’m living with this summer outside the city) warned me that when I was in the city, time would seem to stop. The outside world would cease to exist. She was undeniably right. New York is all I think about. I eat, drink, sleep, ride, walk, sit, and breathe New York City. It’s a stark difference from the slower paced life of my hometown, far, far away from here.

My feet seem to be taking a direct hit from the Big Apple. No matter what shoes I wear, I have painful blisters, small cuts that turn into big scabs and a constant ache in my right heel. The city grime covers them and I’ve learned to enjoy the clean grass on my bare feet in the town outside the Big Apple that I live in. But the way I figure it, if this is my worst problem, I’m doing okay.

The last five weeks have blurred by.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Lifestyles Intern Says Relax (Try To Do It)

I’m three weeks into my internship and have learned a very important real world lesson: no matter how old you are, you will still want to take naps. Working eight hours a day, five days a week is exhausting!

It’s hard to sit at my desk and focus on the articles I need to fact check or the people I need to contact when I can only think about letting my eyes close for a few minutes. By the time I get home, all I want to do is go to sleep. Of course, I’m easily convinced that I can stay up until a later hour, but I regret it the next morning. Have you noticed that whatever time you have to get up in the morning, whether it’s 6:30 a.m. or 9 a.m., is still too early? At school, waking up for my 9:30 a.m. class was a challenge- now I would love to be able to sleep that late!

I’ve always thought of summer as the time to relax by the pool and be lazy all day, so it’s been difficult reconciling this laid-back season with the more formal atmosphere of an office. Since I’d like to try and have the best of both worlds (yes, I am shamelessly quoting Miley Cyrus), here’s my proposal: nap rooms in every office! It would be great to just take half an hour to lie on a couch or cot and power nap. I’ve debated lying on the floor under my desk, but I think that would be frowned upon.