Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My First Day at a National Magazine Didn't Go Quite As Planned...

My first day on the job was a strange combination of chaos and boredom.

I arrived 20 minutes early, following the route I had practiced the day before. Everything was going according to plan, until I realized the building was actually a complex comprised of multiple buildings – and I had no idea which one was mine. I tried to spot people who looked like journalists to see which door they used, but eventually I had to just pick an entrance. I chose wrong, and ended up being a few minutes late, despite my meticulous planning.

Luckily, my editor didn’t notice I was late, mostly because he hadn’t realized I was slated to start that day. My editor is really nice, in a way that reminds me of the best teachers I had in high school. He’s patient, always seems happy to see me and puts up with my endless questions, but I get the sense that when I’m not standing right in front of him, he forgets I exist.

In any case, it was my first day and they had forgotten I was coming. My computer hadn’t even been set up yet, so I spent the first few hours sitting alone in an empty office (yes, I have my own office, complete with walls and a door) reading back issues of the magazine. Most of them were issues I had already read in the days leading up to my internship, but I read them again, anyway, studying the masthead and the bylines in case I met any of the editors or writers.

But I didn’t meet anyone — at least not officially. I tagged along to most of my editor’s morning meetings, but they all moved so quickly I never had the chance to introduce myself or to be introduced to anyone else. Without knowing who people were or what department they worked for, I struggled to keep up with what was happening. I tried to jot down names as I heard people address each other, and after each meeting I ran back to my office and tried to match names on the masthead to names in my notes.

By noon I had a computer, but no work. I ate lunch alone in my office, not realizing there was a cafeteria, and used the time to look up the editors and writers on the online directory, which thankfully includes pictures.

At the end of the first day I was exhausted, and I hadn’t even done any work. With past internships I felt like I was able to jump right in, but at the magazine it seems to be taking a lot of energy just to find my place and get into the flow of the office. Still, I know this is a great opportunity, so I’m determined to do everything I can to get the most out of it — even if that means spending hours studying the online directory.

What were your first days like? Did you get a feel for your boss and the place? Or were you as overwhelmed as I was?

Till Next Wednesday,
Edit Intern

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