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:
1. What business do you want to get into?
Learning Journalism in school, or any other subject for that matter, is one thing. But experiencing it in the real world is something completely different. This is where internships become useful. Besides adding prestige to your resume, they offer you a chance to live out a career, even if for a limited amount of time, and decide if it’s worth fighting for. Trust me, you don’t want to graduate, start a job, and then realize that all you’ve been working for the past four years isn’t really what you want.
2. Now that you know you want to work for a magazine, you have to pick the ones that mostly suit your interests.
I worked for two weekly magazines and two monthly ones. I cannot begin to explain to you how different each and every one of them was. I now know that I’d rather work in a fast-paced weekly environment, and I definitely know that I would love to write about culture (rather than, say, politics or technology).
3. What city do you want to live in?
I have a special relationship with New York City. I moved here from Europe almost five years ago — and I never want to leave. I am convinced that New York is one of those things (and, yes, to me it’s more than a city, it’s a “thing,” with an essence, with a speed, with a vibe, with an existence all of its own) that you either absolutely despise, or could never live without. A lot of people tell me that it is the job that chooses the city, that you should find a good opportunity and then carry through with it, no matter what place in the world it brings you to. Well, I don’t agree. I would be miserable if I wasn’t living in New York, and I know that because I’ve been here for so long and I have never truly felt as passionate for something the way I feel for this glorious city, full of dormant opportunities. If you don’t feel so strongly about anywhere in the world, maybe you should choose a job regardless of its geography. But if you’re anything like me, the city you live in is as important as the future career path that you will be taken to — so don’t overlook it.
I guess now it’s my turn to express what I hope will be a future for me. After a yearlong stunt in public relations, and four internships at four different publications, I realized what truly makes me happy: words. What I truly appreciate while leafing through a magazine, or a book, is the smell of ink on the paper. As corny as it sounds, to me, those words are magic. They leave the page and create this world that we know we could never live in but is magical for that reason exactly. I love magazines, I truly do. But, maybe, it’s just not the thing for me. Maybe, getting enveloped by even more words would be a more suitable career path, a more suitable life path. Without my previous jobs I would have never known this, definitely not until it would have been too late.
I want to work in book publishing. And I want to be in New York City. So I’m going to have to gear up and fight for what I want, and prove to all that I can be as successful as I truly feel I can.
What about you, Edsters? Have you had any job realizations lately? Share them in the comments!
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