Saturday, July 30, 2011
Friday, July 29, 2011
Happy Friday, Edsters!
At The Mag, we have organized intern lunches with some of the higher-up editors once or twice a week. It’s so interesting to hear everyone’s back-story, even if the job market has changed astronomically from when they were job-hunting. (One of our editors just casually established an international version of our magazine while she was living abroad when she was in her twenties. Just for fun. I feel like it doesn’t quite work that way these days.)
All of the editors also have great tips on making the most of your internship. I’ve compiled the best of their advice so far.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Things have been awesome at the mag. The other Web interns and I have finished building all the new articles/slide shows/etc. for the last issue, but we’re also trying to organize everything for the new slew of interns who are about to replace us. Basically, we’re trying to think of everything we wish we would have known coming in and figuring out the best way to make sure all the future webbies know them. Not to mention, with the September issue fast approaching, things are about to get even busier. But the mag isn’t my source of stress. No, it’s somewhere else.
It’s in my part-time job as counter help in some division of food service. Okay, so it’s not a significant job—just something little to get me through the weeks. Lately, though, I feel like it’s been my New York initiation. My boss is a terrific jerk. While he’s at work, he finds no fault in screaming at us in front of a store full of customers. You’ll have to trust me on this, Edsters, since I can’t tell you the specifics on what he’s yelling about…but they’re always stupid rants. I’ve seen customers walk out of the store because of his behavior. I’ve had customers apologize to me on his behalf because he was so rude. And when he’s not in the store? He’s at home watching the security cameras from his laptop…calling in to the store about every 10 minutes to yell at us. I’m really not exaggerating at all.
I thought about quitting because the way he treats us is so incredibly disrespectful that it’s almost degrading to stand for, but three things are keeping me employed.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
For the most part, the first half of the summer has been good. A learning experience, for sure, and different than I expected, but I feel like it’s been valuable and I think I’ve learned a lot about the office, like how a story gets from idea to publication, how long the research process takes, and generally which editor is responsible for what.
One thing I haven’t quite figured out, though, is my relationship with my editor. Specifically, I’m struggling to figure out when and how much to check in.
Here’s the thing. At my past internships, the offices have either had cubicles or been totally open. With those set-ups, my bosses would walk by me multiple times per day, and so checking in sort of happened naturally. At the mag, that is not the case. Everyone has their own office, which is awesome, but it doesn’t do much to facilitate conversation.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Time is flying by, and it’s crazy to think I’m more than halfway through my internship. The finish line is approaching, but the last thing I want to do is cross it. I’ve had so much fun here, and I’ve fallen in love with this city and my position.
I get thrown a lot of things now. You could say my internship is like a guy ready to take the next step in our relationship: since the second half of my internship started, my editors have been giving me much more important tasks and putting more faith in me. It’s a testament to my work, and the last thing I want to do is let them down. That’s why now more than ever I’ve been relying on one key skill: my ability to multitask efficiently.
Never say no to an assignment. It’s something I truly believe in as an intern. It’s your job to help as much as you can. A little nervous about a new task? We’ve all been there, but it’s important to push yourself and set aside your shyness or reservations. Go for it, and know the most rewarding assignments are the ones that push people out of their comfort zone. You can do it (that’s why your editor gave it to you), and you’ll grow from it!
But what happens when things pile up, and you just don’t know where to begin? You’ve got five different assignments on your plate, and five different editors who need your help. Of course you accept them all, but what do you do first? How do you keep your work at its best on each assignment you do? The answer is surprisingly simple: get organized. I’m all about good time management, and I’ve found the best interns and editors I’ve come across share that ability to prioritize.
Monday, July 25, 2011
I’ve heard stories about people going out of their way to please their bosses, editors, managers, whomever – but never did I witness anything like that until I started my fashion internship.
Let me tell you about the Fashion Mag’s resident suck-up; let’s call her the Queen of the Interns. Because, due to her shameless hierarchy-climbing tactics, that’s exactly what she is.
The Queen of the Interns started her internship a week or two before I did, but while I took my time slowly getting used to the water, she dove right in with a splash.
The Queen’s actions were small and innocent at first. Coming in a few minutes early, staying a few minutes late. Nothing wrong here – I’ve done the same when I’ve been assigned a large return. But what started off as 10 minutes turned into an hour, sometimes even beating the fashion assistants and editors themselves to the office.
Still, the other interns and I barely noticed. We’re all in the same boat and will do anything to make ourselves stand out. All’s fair in love and
Saturday, July 23, 2011
It was the first week of my fitness internship when I realized I didn’t own a pair of sneakers. I had just settled in to the city, and decided I should go ahead and splurge on a gym membership if my career (for the next few months at least) was going to be about exercise and nutrition.
Now, I’m no Heidi Klum, but I can safely say that I have been blessed with a fast metabolism that has afforded me the luxury of being able to eat what I want and never gain weight. So, besides a few yoga classes every once in a while, I’ve never really had to work out.
Anyhow, I found a gym close to my apartment and was prepared to walk over and sign up for my membership, but it occurred to me that the only sneakers I owned were converse. Yikes! How embarrassing. My roommates got a big kick out of the situation, but I started to wonder how the heck I was going to make it through an internship with the fitness department when I didn’t know much about the subject. But then it dawned on me: Journalists don’t have to practice what they preach.
Friday, July 22, 2011
A few days ago at work, one of the editors asked me to do her the favor of tracking down a DVD of a documentary that premiered recently on a local channel. That sounded easy enough, and I set to work looking up PR contacts, making phone calls, sending emails, the usual. For some reason, the network didn’t have a copy of the DVD, so they put me in touch with the producer, who wound up taking a real attitude with me. In a condescending voice, he told me, “Well, I would need to know more about why your editor wants that tape. I mean, I produced it. As much as I appreciate good press, I would want to know what it’s for.”
I replied, “Okay, sir, I know you may not understand how internationally-acclaimed magazines work, so let me break it down for you: when an editor says jump, I jump, and if you care at all about your craft, you jump with me, and that aside, this is like a three-inch jump, more of a hop really, and I’m sure that it wouldn’t kill you to slap a postage stamp on a DVD case and ship it right over, so would you please just be compliant so I can tell my editor I’ve gotten this done before my lunch break?”
I’m kidding, obviously. I didn’t say that. However, he wound up speaking to me so rudely that I may as well have (and wish I had).
Thursday, July 21, 2011
The MOST Beautiful, Lovely, Fantastic, Incredible Week!
I truly cannot believe the experiences that are unfolding before me this summer. As I type, I’m sitting in a 24-hour diner I found three blocks from my building. Greasy? Yes. But there’s an outlet and free refills on coffee, so when I’m in the mood to greet the sunrise, we’re the best of friends.
ANYWAY, why am I in the diner tonight? Lovely Edsters, not only do I have an incredible internship at the men’s magazine while I’m blogging for Ed, but I just became a real, live New York City freelancer! (I filled out the tax forms and everything!) Let’s just say I’ve been able to meet one of the most incredibly busy and driven people I’ve ever known, and, through some stroke of incredible luck, I’ve impressed her. I’m working on a couple projects at the moment, some copy editing, some composing story intros and query letters, others organizing for business expansion, but it’s pretty much the most incredible opportunity I never saw coming this summer!
She’s introduced me to other people she knows in various careers, and I’m trying my hardest to stay professional, yet personable, and interesting, while competent. I’m pushing my networking to the max, and I’m really impressed with how cool people are with texting. That is still something I’m getting used to. I wouldn’t recommend it, Edsters. I view it as unprofessional. I tend to veer toward e-mail in the professional form, but when these contacts text me, I mean, yeah, I text back. I think it’s really cool to be able to know people on multiple platforms—if you are careful and make sure it’s mutually understood, I think you can meet people in both personal and professional environments. I know that’s what’s helping me get ahead.
HERE’S HOW IT WORKS:
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
I’m getting ready to enter the second half of my internship, and it’s crazy to think I only have a month left in New York. I’ve really grown to love working at my office and can’t imagine (nor really want to) that soon enough I’ll be back at college in classes. New York is such a tease for life after graduation, but I know I’ll be back soon enough, tackling another internship and someday a job (at least I hope!).
With a month to go, what has become really important to me is taking the opportunity to network with people across the industry. Because I’ve been told so many jobs are word-of-mouth, I feel it’s especially important to start building your network early. And the advantage of being in New York to do that? You can have in-person meetings as opposed to phone interviews. The people you meet will put a face to your voice, which sets a great foundation for when you follow up through email, phone and eventually meet again.
But the appeal of informational interviews goes beyond building a network: hearing the stories of how others broke into the industry is so inspiring. Everyone has their own way to New York, but one element unites all their stories: a bit of luck. It’s reassuring to see the different paths everyone has taken because ultimately, mine and yours will be one-of-a-kind too. Same destination, different journey.
Monday, July 18, 2011
Let’s get real.
I’ve always had big city dreams, but the truth is as a Jersey girl I’ve been to New York more in the past month than I’ve been for the last 10 years. Therefore, I had no actual knowledge of the city. I’ve only been on the subway once before my internship!
So what do I get when I combine my lack of experience navigating the city, my terrible sense of direction, and a fashion internship?
The most rewarding summer of my life.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Greetings from my closet-sized bedroom in the world's teeniest apartment! As most of my posts have been strictly business thus far, I’ve decided to get a little more personal this week and let you in on some of the juicy details of my life. As I mentioned in my first post, I love all things southern and was pretty worried about the transition to life in NY. But aside from my Chic-fil-A withdraws (it’s normal to have shaky hands, right?) and inability to master the subway system, I’m absolutely loving the city! In fact, I've decided I'm staying here no matter what.
Going from a big house with a yard to a very small apartment with no living room, washer/dryer or dishwasher was definitely an adjustment. But as a wise professor once said, “With so much to do in New York, why would you spend time in your apartment?” And she was right. Concerts, picnics, museums and late night strolls have dominated my free time, and I can feel myself growing in every way possible. People complain because NY is expensive, and I’ve definitely chimed in at times (Six dollars for cereal…seriously people!?), but I’ve also found that there’s so much free entertainment! People-watching in the East Village is enough to keep me entertained for an entire Saturday. Two highlights of my time in NY have been Rainbow City, a crazy art installation in Chelsea (pictured above), and the Gay Pride Parade.
NYC Pride was particularly moving because the state passed a law legalizing gay marriage the day before the parade. Especially coming from the south, where homosexuals aren’t (for the most part) as accepted in our culture, it was a really amazing experience to witness all of the love, support and celebration of individuality that embodies NYC Pride. Couples marched down the streets carrying signs reading “31 Years”, and preachers followed behind in support. I love Tennessee, but let's be honest, that would never happen there.
Rainbow City is an art installation at the lot on 30th street in Chelsea. It’s one of the neat cultural attractions that makes me so happy that I’m able to be here, experiencing everything the world has to offer.
What have been your favorite experiences in NY so far, edsters? Would you move here after college?
Friday, July 15, 2011
And some days, the work I do even feels glamorous. Other days, I’m stuck filing papers, or sent traipsing around the city in the rain or in 90-degree heat on missions I can best describe as menial. It’s not that I mind changing the toner in the printer or heading out for a Starbucks run – I know I’m making myself useful and helping The Mag run, in my own little way.
But sometimes, when I’m calling to see why an editor’s magazine subscription didn’t arrive the previous month, or moving a bookshelf in aforementioned stilettos with two other interns, or delivering packages well after my work day allegedly ends in unfamiliar parts of the city, I can’t help but think, is this really in my job description?
Thursday, July 14, 2011
So, seeing as I can’t tell you lovelies who I am or what magazine to peruse the SECOND the story gets published, I’m sorry for the teaser. But being in the know for any publication is one of the most exciting little adventures the office can hold. It’s very much like a flashback to high school—you hear a murmur…you look around…wait, what was that they said?...strain your ears a little…and in a minute, the whole office is talking. Yaaa…so maybe some celebs had a fling and tried to keep it quiet—until one of them spilled it all. I mean, let’s just open THAT can.
That’s what I’ve been loving a lot this week. The other interns and I have been invited to some of the meetings going on around the office. Sometimes that means really boring ones with just updates and sometimes that means really interesting ones, like when we get briefed on the upcoming issue. Since my last blog, I’ve been keeping true to my hopes, and I’ve been trying to network at these meetings. I’ve been able to meet people from the fashion department, people who take chare of all our PR inquiries, and the associated editor. Very awesome. I mean, I know we all know it, but contacts are completely indispensible. It also helps for future conversations, too.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Often, I feel like my editor has to search for things for me to do. I almost feel annoying asking for work sometimes, because I think he spends more time searching for tasks for me than he saves by having me do them. Even when I am given a task, it rarely comes with a deadline or any sense of urgency, and occasionally I think my editor just makes things up to get me to stop asking (like when he tells me to research something for a potential front of the book story for the February issue).
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Next week marks the halfway point for my internship, and it’s amazing how fast time has gone. It’s hard to believe just a month ago I was sitting on my front porch, looking out at my suburban neighborhood and just trying to imagine what New York and my internship would be like. It’s been such a journey, and there’s so much more to go.
When I look back, however, I see this experience as more than just conquering the work day. I’ve learned so much at work, but I’ve learned even more about myself as a person and my ability to adapt in new environments from living on my own in New York.
I won’t sugarcoat it and say adjustment is easy, especially when you’re living in a new place is as big, exciting and intimidating as New York. I’ve grown to love the city, but it wasn’t always like that. There were tears over bad directions, frustration over the complicated subway and heartbreak over leaving behind all my friends, family and the familiar.
Monday, July 11, 2011
Wait, you knew that already? Ha.
Saturday, July 9, 2011
However, I’ve found that becoming too friendly with your superiors is definitely a don’t. This happened with an intern that I worked with last summer, and I notice some of the interns I work with here trying too hard to be buddy-buddy with the staffers. If you happen to hit it off with one of your superiors, that’s awesome, and you should use that relationship to your advantage--but it’s easy to tell when someone is kissing your you-know-what just because they want a job. There’s a big difference between a likable intern and someone who arrogantly acts like they’re already on staff. So here are a few foolproof tips I came up with so that you know you’ll leave a good impression.
Friday, July 8, 2011
It wasn’t long before I tired of explaining to my non-Edster friends that the majority of what I do at work is research (as opposed to fetching coffee), so I crafted a little ditty to spice up my unchanging, uninteresting response: “Researching, researching, yeah! Dossiers, dossiers, yeah! Fun, fun, fun, fun.”
Okay, so that wasn’t a fully original composition.
Anyway, everyone seems to take pity on me for spending a big chunk of my internship on Lexis Nexis and Google.
Look, I’ll level with you. I secretly love doing research. I know that makes me a huge geek, but putting together profiles on celebrities we’re interviewing and filling binders with articles by our competitors on a certain subject – well, it just feels like I’m doing something useful, and I can’t say that I feel useful all the time at the office. On Monday, for example, most of my day consisted of reading the July issue and making some phone calls. Not exactly the kind of work that begets satisfying results.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
This has been a very weird—yet fulfilling—week for me. We’re between issues at the magazine, so the other interns and I have been working on smaller tasks than usual.
Normally, we’re actually doing the damn thing—much more than I was expecting before coming to the city. We build Web articles, we build Web slideshows, we code text with HTML and we research photos and contact companies to purchase them. We’re basically doing the preliminary Web builds of everything, and then the edits to them once they go through the editors.
This week, though, we’ve just about built it all. New stories for the next issue haven’t made it through to us, yet, so we’ve been cleaning our little room and deleting spam from the website and tweaking little things here and there that got lost in the shuffle of a couple busy, busy weeks.
What that DOES mean, though, is we’ve gotten the chance to really talk to our boss. We’ve been able to talk about what magazine’s look for in their interns (or at least what our boss does!), what’s fun to do in the city and how to volunteer for some extra responsibilities at the magazine. Here’s what I’ve picked up:
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
The idea was sparked when the magazine’s assistant editor, who hasn’t worked there very long, asked me to lunch. (This lunch, two weeks into my internship, was also the first time I realized we had a cafeteria.) During the hour we talked, she explained that she was feeling the same way I did: that it was hard to get to know people and it was easy to go a whole day without talking to anyone. It was great to hear that I wasn’t alone in feeling a little lost, but it was scary that she had been there for months and still felt that way – was I going to let my entire internship fly by without ever getting to know these people?
I decided the writers and editors at the magazine are just too amazing for me not to try to learn everything I can from them. We have people who have been foreign correspondents and people who have been editors at some of the biggest magazines in the world. I want to talk to these people and hear their stories. And I realized after that lunch with my assistant editor that most people are more than happy to talk about themselves for an hour.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
June quickly came to a close, and it’s hard to believe that I’m approaching the one-month mark at my internship. I’ve really settled into my position and routine now, and it’s been smooth sailing!
I’ve also started to get to know some of the other interns too, which has been wonderful. What’s really cool about NYC internships versus those in D.C. or other cities is that your colleagues are from all over the country rather than primarily based locally. It’s great to hear their different perspectives, from the West Coast to East and everywhere in between. Everyone has a unique story.
But perhaps what’s most interesting is hearing about others’ past internships. And while there are definite highs, there are some pretty big lows too, which quickly turn into internship horror stories.
Monday, July 4, 2011
The fashion closet was absolutely crazy this week. Tons of trunks filled with clothes and accessories were coming back from photo shoots around the world. My job, along with the other 20 or so interns, was to unpack these trunks and return items to the designers or showrooms. Ever try sorting through 400 pairs of designer socks to find a matching pair? It gets frustrating very quickly.
Here’s where the poor decisions come in. One day, at around 8 p.m. (12 hour days are the norm), the fashion assistant who works with the interns asked me to work on an especially large return – about 70 items – that needed to be completed that night.
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Last week marked my first month as an intern for the fitness mag, and overall I can say that I enjoy the staff members and think this summer will be a great experience. With that said, I’d like to explain my first day. Things we’re going great - I settled in to my desk area, met my editors, took an office tour - until one of the editors asked me to “lend a hand” while she was moving a few crates. Lending a hand turned into unpacking 12 huge crates worth of fitness equipment (think dumbells, weighted exercise balls, etc.) and arranging them by color. I believe “hope you have good organizational skills” were her last words before she left me to face the mounds of fitness products. But hey, no pressure.
If I sound ungrateful, let me give you a little bit of background information: This is not my first rodeo. I spent last summer interning for a national publication (with an hourly salary), was managing editor of my school newspaper, and have other internships and writing experience under my belt. So, doing grunt work all day had me a little depressed. Believe me, it’s not that I think I’m “too good” for intern work, but I couldn’t help but think that all of my hard work in college had only gotten me back to square one.
Friday, July 1, 2011
So, thankfully, my forgiving and fantastic managers seem to have put the Cupcake Incident of Summer 2011 behind them, and my ensuing time at The Mag has gone fairly smoothly since. I feel like I’ve tackled a million projects since I last wrote, and walked twice as many steps in stilettos. (How many weeks did it take me to actually start packing a pair of flip-flops in my purse? Three?)
Since I’m not quite sure where to start, I thought I’d shed some light on the dynamic at my office by outlining my experience interacting with my fellow interns, my managers and the higher-up editors. Spoiler: my review is generally glowing.