Indy interns: Why your next job should be fast food | Soapboxer
Soapboxer
Editor Jeffrey C. Billman's blog

Archives | RSS

Friday, December 16, 2011

Indy interns: Why your next job should be fast food

Posted by on Fri, Dec 16, 2011 at 3:43 PM

A corner of the Indy office is emptier today. Our two interns, Maggie Smith and Jason Y. Lee, have left, their apprenticeship finished. There was something comforting about seeing them encamped nearby, laptops open, phones couched in the crook of their neck. We miss them already.

Indy interns are subjected to the same rigors and expectations as regular staffers—not fluffy routines of opening mail and making coffee. In return, they get a world of real-life experience, an impressive cache of clips and, if they're old enough, a bottle from the beer cart that occasionally makes the rounds late on a Friday afternoon.

I don't give interns unsolicited career advice, but if they ask, this is what I tell them:

1) Don't get too caught up in what your friends are doing. Set your own goals and expectations—and certainly don't sell yourself short—but don't allow peer pressure to dictate how you live.

2) Before becoming a journalist, take a series of shitty, low-wage jobs that will pay you just enough to cover your bills. Not only will this prepare you for a journalist's salary, but you will learn empathy and humility. The experience will make you a better journalist. Plus, you will never think any job is beneath you. I paid my dues as a school crossing guard, maid (got fired after one day), cake decorator, assistant manager at Subway, McDonald's cashier, musical instrument salesperson, newspaper delivery driver, donut delivery driver (not at the same time, but that would've been handy), record store clerk, video store clerk, nightclub booking agent, band manager, shelver in a college textbook warehouse and a telemarketer at a greeting card company—all between the ages of 21 and 29.

3) In addition to your low-wage job, live as The New York Times' David Carr calls it, a "fully textured life." That doesn't mean you should become a crackhead. But you should take at least one cross-country trip by car and visit a nation where indoor plumbing is not a given.

4) Read a lot of books.

5) Talk to people you don't know.

6) Fail at something, especially if you've come from a hard-charging, high-octane family that put a premium on achievement. You'll find that despite your shortcomings, you're still a decent, valuable person.

So, Jason and Maggie, good night and good luck.

Pin It

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Soapboxer



Twitter Activity

Comments

Thank you, Mr. Billman. Carry on. - Davie County

by growlybear on Trump’s DACA Decision Proves We Are Governed by Horrible People (Soapboxer)

Most Read

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

Most Recent Comments

Thank you, Mr. Billman. Carry on. - Davie County

by growlybear on Trump’s DACA Decision Proves We Are Governed by Horrible People (Soapboxer)

What readers want is the truth, even if the truth doesn't line up neatly with the story you're trying to …

by Edward Teach on Donald Trump Wants to Eviscerate the Public’s Trust in Journalism. If He Succeeds, Our Democracy Is at Risk. (Soapboxer)

I don't think it's DT that's eroded the public's faith in modern journalism. I think the Corporate TV news environment(and …

by Timothy Oswald on Donald Trump Wants to Eviscerate the Public’s Trust in Journalism. If He Succeeds, Our Democracy Is at Risk. (Soapboxer)

© 2018 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation