In public relations we’re often made to feel we each have to be doing certain things in a specific order to be successful. For me this included being told I should intern around throughout college instead of staying with one agency. Coming out of college, there was a lot of negative connotations and thoughts surrounding interning somewhere over waiting longer for a salary position with a nice, official title. I’m here to say that we each define our personal professional journey and interning out of college can be a great option, as it proved to be for me.
Working that 9-5. When I take on a role or join an organization, I’m very passionate and dedicated. With adjusting to being out of college and in a new city, it was great to work hourly as an intern and not have to think about work until the next day. When we’re on salary, there is a responsibility to get the job done by being on-call, staying late, coming in early and sometimes working on the weekends. I have enjoyed being able to leave at a reasonable time and not checking my work email until the next morning. Mentally this was one of the healthiest decisions I could make, so that I’m not exhausted of working in PR in three years.
The once-over. Interviewing for a job is basically someone giving you the once-over. They don’t truly get a feel for what you’re capable of, or who you really are. Interning gave me the opportunity to show my personality, surpass expectations and discover where I could be and am an asset. Ultimately, this is your leveraging power for salary and title. Only you can hurt or empower yourself.
It’s not you, it’s me. It’s scary to think that right out of college you have to dedicate yourself to a company that you most likely don’t know enough about. I loved being able to hear the backstories, interact with coworkers, engage with clients and ultimately know that where I am is a great place to be for my current hopes and desires. The first job out of college won’t necessarily be perfect, but if you’re counting down to the official one-year mark to go somewhere else, something is wrong.
Money. Money. Moneyy! Before being on salary, working hourly in a new city will be your financial boot camp. There are new expenses that pop up and somehow weren’t a worry in college. Before having to decide on your 401k, health benefits, dental benefits and when to take your vacation days, simply get your life in order in a way that doesn’t feel like you’re experiencing a personal financial recession.
Humble yourself. Nothing will humble you like being introduced as “the intern” when you have previous experience. Nothing will motivate you more to excel and command respect in various settings than being an intern.
You’re a 20-something! In college I took myself very seriously as a young professional. It was all about getting ahead. Now I still take myself seriously, but I own the fact that I’m a twenty-something who doesn’t need to have his life figured out at every moment. My life is in flux. While I still want respect, I also want to enjoy being unattached, in a new city and watching Scandal on a Thursday night with a bottle of wine and no work emails in sight until the next morning.
The internship will end, and as Kelly Cutrone says in If You Have To Cry, Go Outside, “You can fake your way to the table, but ultimately you have to learn how to eat.” One day the offer with the title and salary arrives, and you have to be ready to meet a new set of responsibilities and expectations.
A Touch of Bold Bonus: By typing into Google “hourly paycheck calculator” you can discover tools to help you figure out how much you’d made each paycheck in a certain state, how much you make in a year by being paid hourly and more.