Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Forever the Intern

1-3 years minimum experience required.

"What. This is hopeless. I'll be an intern forever..." I think to myself, after reading that line again and again while sifting through job posting after job posting online.

I've had experience at three separate internships at this point - each lasting three to five months. So, according to my excellent mathematical skills, that sums to approximately nine to fifteen months experience total. (Once I finish at my current internship, of course). And I only graduated last month! Come on, don't I get some kind of credit for that? *cricket* *cricket* ... Guess not.

Unfortunately, I didn't have the opportunity to do an internship at an ad agency, which is where I'm really interested in working. And when it comes to ad agency job postings, they're not just looking for a couple years experience in the industry. No, no. They want at least a couple years of ad agency experience under you belt. Perfect. So, how in the world am I ever supposed to get a job doing what I want to do, then?

Well, I've learned that when they say "it's all about who you know," they're not kidding. Really. That's what it's all about. It's the difference between being an intern for the rest of your life - doomed to an eternity of dead-end monotony and the loss of hope for a real future - and a successful career.

So here I am in New York City, trying to expand my network as much as it will possibly expand. Thankfully, I have my amazing and helpful cousin, Christopher, at my aid - who I have to thank for referring me to this internship and helping me with the whole process of moving to New York. He has been introducing me to his connections, which have proven to be extremely valuable already. I've also been reaching out to those I come in contact with at my internship. It's been a plethora of coffee dates, lunch meetings and happy hours. Phew. It's exhausting, really. Especially for someone like me, who would much rather be relaxing at home listening to the latest mixtapes or watching Don Draper brooding on Mad Men, than to be forced into a social butterfly. But, hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. And plus, I can actually turn on the charm when necessary. And I have truly enjoyed meeting all of these people and hearing their personal experiences throughout their careers. (All the while trying to figure out how it comes so easy to them to be successful).

Anyways. Some days I think it's best to go ahead and find a permanent real job ASAP. And then sometimes I'm like, "Wait, I still want to travel and be young and carefree." And then I start getting all skitzo and begin arguing with myself in my head. "But wait! You still have bills to pay! And you can't get lost in the shuffle towards achieving a successful career as a young professional! You'll never be able to make it back in the shuffle!" And the next thing I know, I'm going in circles, trying to decide between living in a hut on the beaches of Bali or totally revamping my portfolio and attending the next career fair.

Who knows where I'll be this time next year. All I know is, at this point, regardless of my incessant need to plan every detail months in advance, I'm still young. I'm only 20 years old. And I have a college degree. (Heck, I'll give myself some credit for that if no one else does.) Oh! And plus, I'm single. Pretty much, I have my whole life ahead of me, so sometimes I should remind myself to just sit back and let life happen.

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