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My Honest Thoughts on : Internships

We’ve all heard  the praises of internships from top fashion people.  ” Internships are the best thing you can do to break in to the industry.’ “Intern.Intern.Intern” ect. ect. I can go on, and on.  People even BUY internships. Yea, some people PAY for the opportunity to work! It’s crazy! I know. So you probably don’t need to be reminded that internships are the perfect way to learn about careers that you may want to totally explore or those careers that you know very well you could do without.

So, let me preface by saying, I completely and totally agree and encourage internships!

I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to intern for  small handful of different fashion related places -some great and others not so great. But now, I am currently interning at one of my most favorite fashion websites. This is a dream come true internship. The name is so well known in the industry, that it can really open doors for me when I apply to other places in the future.

So whats wrong?

Well, this morning inparticular, I woke up with literally only 20 minutes to get myself ready after debating if I should call out today because I was really tired of driving 1 hour and 30 minutes to my internship in terrible Los Angeles morning traffic. Especially when I have so much school work left to do.I knew I souldn’t because I have to call off this coming friday for a school event and I really don’t want to burn any bridges. Especially since I only have a week or so left at this internship. I considered quitting via email, but  stopped myself, knowing it’d be a dumb thing to do.

And I know what you’re thinking, “Thats not very responsible. In the real world, you can’t just not go to work because you don’t want to get out of bed. ” Okay, Okay, I know! Just hear me out…

Sometimes internships can be a little more difficult than you might think. Not only are you working for FREE, it’s just hard to keep motivated when its obvious that you are disposable to the company. And you sometimes feel practically invisible as an intern. No one really knows your name, nor are they interested in finding out because they know that you are only here for a few months, so whats the point?

Now, dont get me wrong, I love the company. And people here are generally really nice, but a lot of people can also act like you’re not even there even though you hand them their mail and transfer their calls. Now, they arent mean or anything, it’s just that sometime, as an intern you dont always feel like an important part of the company. There is really no personal responsiblity that you are held accountable for so for people like myself, it is hard for me to see how I directly contribute to the growth and success of a company so the motivation isn’t there.

So an obvious solution would be to make yourself stand out, right? Great! But when you are at an internship  2 days a week for 3 months, it tends to be a little harder to get yourself recognized when you are trying to get comfortable in an environment where a lot of the people are closed off.

So I think, “Im sitting here in 1 1/2 hours of traffic to get there and go back home only to sit at the reception desk for another 8 hours and I dont really make an impact. I don’t really matter. They could get their own mail and answer their own calls. The company won’t collapse if I’m not there….’

But of course, I can quit  and there will instantly be another girl with is willing to take my spot. A girl who would sit in 2 hours of traffic, and not miss a day, not once.

Its a cycle. When the job market is shaky in an industry that so many girls ‘would kill’ to be in the position I am in, my internship won’t have a problem with finding my replacement with a girl who wants it more than I do.

And funny enough, when I walked into my internship this morning, there was a new intern. Who moved to Los Angeles simply for this internship.

So, after all this…what’s the lesson ?

There is always someone who wants something more than you do. You just have to wake up every morning, even when you are really tired and cold and not in the mood, and ask yourself, “How BAD do I want THIS!”  How bad do you want to make it in an industry that is notoriously difficult to break into. When you have these opportunities, how important is it for you to keep them?

Its not easy, TRUST me. But asking myself those questions is what got me out of bed this morning, when I was really not in the mood.