The ‘No Bullshit’ Guide To Interning

One of my articles in the second issue of We Are Collision.Image
The No Bullshit Guide To Interning

So, you wanna be an intern, huh? Haha, as if. Of course you don’t want to be an intern – interning fucking sucks! But chances are that you quite fancy one of those sweeet jobs where going to work doesn’t make you feel like a worthless sack of shit…and sometimes you actually feel like you had a good day! Well, you probably realise by now that, unless you’re incredibly well-connected, smug and privileged, you’re going to have to go and do a bit of slave labour to prove that you’re serious – otherwise, you’re not even going to get a look in. Here are some home truths about interning.

No one gives a fuck about your lame outfit.
So many interning guides seem to stress the importance of ‘looking the part’, which is mostly a load of bollocks. Truthfully, everyone in the office is far too busy to care what you wear, so just wear something smart, practical and comfortable.  A lot of internships involve a fair amount of carrying and lifting (returning those huge bags of samples to a PR agency? Sure.) so you’re going to look like a twat and be totally useless if you’ve shown up wearing a fitted suit or some power bitch heels. Having said this, do make sure you always check the dress code before you start.

You probably won’t get a job out of it.
Hate to break it to you, but getting a job at the end of your internship is highly unlikely. A lot of the time, organisations will say this to keep their interns motivated and focused. Fuck it, some of them even say it in good faith, but a lot of the time there just isn’t the budget for a new member of staff. In all honesty, I know some totally feckless people who’ve happened to get jobs straight after their internships, but it was simply a case of being in the right place at the right time. You need to view an internship realistically, otherwise you will drive yourself mad overanalysing every staff cut, every ‘well done’, every email, every fond look, every ‘you make the best cup of tea’ and you will begin to slowly feel that you’re turning into some kind of psychopathic deluded stalker. Yep. The best you can hope for at the end of your internship is a good reference, some genuine knowledge, new skills and perhaps a few new useful connections. Focus on those things and it might just keep you sane. It’s also prudent to start looking for a new job once you’re two-thirds of the way through your internship.

It’s time to drop all your bad habits from university.
University brings out some really immature qualities in some people. Having to intern five days a week is basically an opportunity to get used to working life. You might only be an intern, but you should still try and act like a professional wherever possible. Maybe it’s time to cut off all those festival wristbands now? They make you look like a bellend anyway.

Say goodbye to your social life!
You might as well just give up drinking for the duration of any internship. It sounds like a total bore but you probably won’t have a lot of choice in the matter – it’s normally a hassle finding money for bus fare when you’re interning, if you end up having one of those nights where you inadvertently blow £100 on sub-standard vodka, taxis and kebabs then you’re going to feel like a total fuckup.

Don’t be a try-hard.
Unless you’ve managed to score one of those cushy numbers where you actually get paid a proper wage, don’t bother doing any of that stuff like taking work home with you or anything like that, which brings me onto my next point…

Don’t be a dosser.
It’s hard, but leave all that social media stuff until your lunch break or when you’ve left for the day. Work diligently while you’re at your internship so that you don’t feel like you’re going to get in trouble for not having completed a task.

Wash regularly and get a reasonable amount of sleep.
This may sound like an unbelievably obvious point to make, but it’s crazy how many interns go to bed at 3am and then drag themselves into work at 9am looking sloppy because they didn’t have time to shower. You remember how I said that no one gives a shit about your outfit? Well, this is still true, but everyone’s going to care that your personal fragrance seems to be: ‘Sweat, vaguely masked by some kind of cheap scent’. Mmm, nice!

You should be enjoying yourself too!
I know I’ve made an intern’s life sound like a hellish existence, but interning is also a way of getting to know the industry you want to work in. If you complete an internship and you’ve had an awful time, it could be that that particular work environment wasn’t right for you; but it could also mean that perhaps your idea of your chosen career path was a little off the mark? Internships give you the chance to get a taste for certain industries without wasting a whole lot of time and training.

You can read the whole second issue of We Are Collision right here.

One response to “The ‘No Bullshit’ Guide To Interning

  1. Festival wristbands make kids look unwashed and smelly so its good to point out the need to cut them off, and probably burn them in an incinerator.

    The worst part of an internship is if you turn up at a ‘quiet time’ when theres fuck all to do. Its happened to me in my callow youth THREE times and these were at top level agencies in ad land and media planning / buying. On one memorable occasion the Account Management team for a car brand I was shadowing decided to go on a jolly ‘long lunch’; the area I was in became the proverbial Marie Celeste…They came back 3 hours later.

    Its very true, 99.9% of the time you don’t end up with a job.

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