Thursday, August 11, 2011

Fake It ‘Til You Make It: An Ode To Multitasking

Hey Edsters,

So I’m weeks and weeks deep into my internship, silently loathing the approaching time when I have to move home, and soaking up as much information as I possibly can on how to succeed.

If I’m picking up one thing more than anything else, it’s the importance of being able to multitask. We’re in a tough major, Edsters. I think we can all agree on that. We’re in a time when huge magazines would rather outsource freelancers than hire staffers, when one week of bad reviews can get you fired and sent back to school for a new career. It’s hitting hard for me, as I just saw someone fired yesterday. The person came into the office, went out to coffee with the boss, and then never came back. In that switch of a moment, his life was drastically different. He woke up with a life plan and went home with a box.

I started to think about my future in magazines. After having a real talk with my boss, I was much more than reassured.

Here’s what I learned:

-Everyone is multitasking. Hardly anyone in the magazine world is strictly focused on their 9-5. They have side businesses and freelancing projects and Web ventures and books. I knew this was obviously true, but I wasn’t able to fully grasp just how big it is until I was discussing it with my boss, and the next highest boss overheard us and joined in. He offered the next point of success.

-Not to say you should ever lie, but “fake it ‘til you make it” IS true to an extent. Ever worked in a kitchen and had to hurry before? Yeah, you have fast food experience. Ever bartended on Saint Patrick’s day or other crazy holidays? Mhmm, you’ve bartended in a high-volume atmosphere. Ever go to the post office or create an e-mail for your boss? Looks like you’re someone’s personal assistant. There are ALWAYS ways to spruce up your experiences and market yourself in the best possible light—especially if you’re a fast learner. Which my boss agreed with and added the next point.

-Never stop hustling. This is such a competitive career choice (as we all know) that you have to dedicate a lot of time to it. Sometimes that means sacrificing certain things, like relationships or sleep. It doesn’t always mean that, Edsters, but on this express train to success or failure, I think sacrifice is an unexpected stop we’ll all take. Listening to this back-and-forth conversation gave me mixed feelings.

Obviously, I’m so happy to have the mentorship and guidance of established professionals. That experience is invaluable. (Or maybe worth the staggering rent I’m paying to be here this summer.) But I almost felt embarrassed by how little I’m accomplishing while I’m in New York this summer.

Sure, I’m interning, working with Ed’s blog, doing a part-time job, and freelancing, but I feel like there is so much more creativity I’m capable of that has just been stifled. There were so many ventures and books and articles and projects I’ve considered in the past, but haven’t pursued. Just as true, I feel like I haven’t been brainstorming new ideas as of late, which upsets me greatly. This is going to change. It has to, and I want it to.

From now on, I vow to multitask better, revive and pursue at least one idea/venture, and start brainstorming and recording new ideas, even if I don’t have time to go after them right this minute. That’s my vow, Edsters.

What about you? Are you feeling creatively drained, or have you found ways to multitask your projects like a pro? Let me hear about it because I’m sure I’m not alone.

For now,
Ed’s Web Intern

p.s. (On a happier note) I submitted my first invoice for freelance work today. Yay!

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