I thought up this series while sitting in my cubicle at Random House of Canada just as I was starting my second internship. By this point I considered myself a pretty seasoned hand. I had seen a lot: the relentless hard work, the small embarrassments, the seemingly endless hours. But I had also enjoyed the big payoffs and the incredible, unexpected opportunities (like that time I met the Governor General of Canada…). Being an intern had taken me places I never thought I would go. Even so, I found being an intern incredibly hard and at times unbearably isolating. I wanted someone to share the experience with, someone to talk to—not only about what it was like to be an intern but also about how I could leverage that internship into a job.
We’ve now reached the end of this short series on internships, so let’s look at what we’ve covered these past few months. To all of you who have followed along, thank you for reading.
I started this series for several reasons. First and foremost, I wanted to create a space where interns could talk. I also wanted to create awareness about internships: for people in internships, for people thinking about getting into an internship, and for people in the industry who had never had an internship (or had never had an internship like the ones today). We’ve covered a lot here.
- I talked about what editorial interns do, from the tasks they complete to the hours they work and the money they’re paid.
- I discussed ways to maximize your internship, passing on tips I’ve picked up in my travels.
- I tackled one of the questions that worried me the most when starting out as an intern: what an intern is worth. And while—horror of horrors—interns are by definition replaceable, in this article I hoped to reassure publishing hopefuls by conveying the kindness, the sensitivity, and the respect that everyone at this large publishing house showed me during my time interning there.
- I discussed how to turn your internship into a job, offering the tips that helped me get to where I am today—though there are many other routes into the industry as well.
- I took on some of the larger issues associated with internships, addressing some of the more serious concerns.
- Finally, I opened up the discussion to include the myriad ways of getting into publishing.
Internships aren’t perfect. For starters, there are far more internships than there are jobs. Also, expectations of hopefuls are kept unrealistically high through a proliferation of certificate programs and a constant rotation of available internships. When I set out, I knew I wasn’t going to change the system in one series. What I’d hoped to do was create awareness that might enable us to change ourselves.
So how do we change? Make sure that you are getting the most out of your certificate program and internship. Take action to connect with the industry in every way you can. Don’t be complacent. And if you want to see change? Longer internships? Larger focus on mentoring in the internship? Better preparation for your internship in the certificate program? Leave a comment on this blog. Let’s keep the conversation going!