Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Learning to Play to Your Strengths

Hey Edsters! 

I've been waiting for Tuesday to roll around because I have so many things to tell you. I want to go on and on about how much I love this city, despite the fact I've spent more time walking to and from Bed Bath & Beyond than I have in my apartment, and the fact that I scoured another part of the city in the rain looking for the shampoo I use, only to find it one block from my apartment the next day.

But something tells me that might not benefit you in your future magazine career. So instead, we'll talk about happy hour.

I have a friend who is a staff writer for a magazine similar to mine. We met up yesterday after she finished work. 

In a desperate attempt to calm the pre-internship jitters, I choked out a quick "Hi" before launching into a long rant about how I hadn't been reading the mag for years and I didn't think I was going to do well and that would probably cause the world to end and I never even got to be an editor before it happened. When I finally came up for air, she said that she wasn't an expert when she started at her mag either. She said she was upfront about that, thinking it would be better to have it out in the open than to be assigned something that was too complicated early on and risk disappointing her boss. She balanced it by telling them how genuinely excited she was to work there and about the strengths she could bring to the table.

The "play to your strengths" advice is something I've been hearing left and right the past few days. I plan to use it not only at my internship, but also in the fall with my campus magazine staff. It seems so simple when you think about it, but as EIC of the campus mag, my head is usually spinning in 500 directions and I don't really care who does something as long as it gets done. I want to go back to the mag in the fall and spend a little time finding out what makes every staff member tick. I’ve learned that’s something even top editors in NYC think about while running their magazines, because if people are working on something that is right up their alley, it's going to be more enjoyable and productive for everyone involved.

For my friend, that meant spending more time fact-checking and assisting reporters, and less time worrying about the big, awesome but complicated stuff her mag is known for. And of course, doing all that while getting coffee and absorbing everything possible. All in a day's work for an intern.

Can't wait to tell you about my first day next week!
Edit intern

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