Stepping into my Intern shoes: Weeks 4 & 5

Last weekend, I wasn’t able to post about my internship because I went to see a local production of Hairspray (which was incredible) on the Saturday, and it was my mum’s birthday on the Sunday, so we wined and dined her! So here are weeks 4 and 5 all kind of mashed into one.

Week 4

This week, I revisited the latest press release I got to send out to all our press contacts. We hadn’t received as many responses as we’d hoped, so it was my responsibility to try and find more contacts who might be interested in generating some free interest around the book. Mainly through blog posts or media stories…etc. I also got to format a couple more recipes ahead of our latest cook book going to print, and was asked to write the blurb. It was pretty daunting, actually, because this time quite a few people had to look over the blurb to check it over and see if it sounded right, and one of those people was the Managing Director himself. One thing I will say is that I’ve gotten a lot of really useful feedback from the internship, even after only having been there for a few weeks. Everything I write is looked at and used, and I always get some form of feedback from either the PR lady who I work under, or the MD when he’s not too run off his feet. I didn’t really know how to react when I could hear them talking through my blurb – it was awkward, but also a kind of relief that they didn’t think it was completely rubbish. Mostly the first line just needed a little alteration because it was a little cliched.

As the week went on, I got to do quite a bit of creative writing, actually. I was asked to compose two short stories about music festivals, a food review for a newly-opened café in Sheffield that serves up vegan and veggie food, and I also got to write a little piece about a local pop-up foodie business that I really enjoyed. Then of course, it was proofing time again. Our latest book was ready to go off to the printer, so I spent two days getting through the hardcopy, making suggestions and picking up on grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. It might sound boring, but I get a real kick out of anything like that.

I also carried on with the little side-task the MD had given me the week before. It was an ongoing task – to research different distribution outlets nationally – but because it was the MD’s task, I kind of felt like I wanted to get it back to him ASAP to show him how quickly and efficiently I can work. I managed to find quite a few places that might consider stocking our regional cook books, which was a big relief because I was worried I wouldn’t find many. I even starred the ones I thought we should try first, and after checking about a million times for spelling mistakes, sent it to him and asked him to let me know if he wanted me to keep looking. He sounded really grateful, so I guess that’s a good start.

Towards the end of the week, the MD proofed the final copy of the cook book due to go to print, and asked if I could re-edit one of the pieces after he re-wrote it slightly. The profile did sound quite pretentious, but I hadn’t wanted to point it out in case it was just me. So I looked over it again, and then had to call up a local men’s clothes store to ask them to send over some photos for their upcoming feature in the magazine’s June issue. Again, I hate making phone calls, mostly because I hate the sound of my voice when I’m talking to customers – I have this really sickly customer service voice that I’ve cultivated from working in retail, and every time I built myself up to making the call, the office seemed to fall really silent. I just didn’t want to be stuttering and end up mucking up the phone call with all of them listening, but in the end I told myself to get a grip and just do it. Luckily I didn’t stutter or forget to tell him anything, but he mumbled a lot, so it was difficult for me to understand him. Still, it was the first phone call I’ve made in the office with everyone listening (since I tend to go in the board room), and I didn’t make an idiot of myself, so there’s that.

Week 5

The last book that went to print arrived back on Friday, so it was my job on Monday morning, to pack up some copies to send out for press purposes. It was the first time I’d seen my name in print as one of the contributors, so I did have an internal-squealy moment out in the corridor. Then it was onto round two of circulating the press release; re-emailing people to ask if they’d thought further about using our release. I got a couple of replies, but still not all that many. I spent some more time trying to add more contacts to the press database in hopes of generating more interest, so hopefully if we keep trying, we’ll get more responses.

I got to write another press release for the book that we sent off to print just last week, and I’m just waiting for one of the book’s high-profile chefs to get back to me with a quote for the release. I also started a new database to prepare for when we have to start sending out the press release, and feel that this one’s going a lot better because I’ve tried to look for multiple email addresses for each contact. That way, we’re more likely to get more responses and avoid the same thing happening as with the previous release that I sent out.

I was also asked to write a short piece about open-air cinemas in and around Sheffield, just giving basic details but writing it in a way that makes the story interesting to read since it’ll be appearing in the magazine.

On Friday, I arrived as I do every other day – early, and ready to get started. When I checked my email, I found a list of tasks from the MD, and they were pretty urgent. I had to write four profiles for stores at a local shopping centre for 11am in time for a meeting with a client, and so I got started straight away, only to be told that the shops I needed to write about had been altered to turn the spotlight on independent stores as opposed to familiar high street names. So I had even less time to get it done. Like a tool, I carried on writing, only to realise with half-an-hour to spare that I was writing about the completely wrong brands, so I swore silently, told myself I was an idiot, and quickly knocked out some new profiles. When the MD looked over and saw ONE profile in my Word document, I could have shrivelled into a ball. He ended up offering to write the last one for me, and all turned out okay. I suppose you have to learn from your mistakes, so I’ll be sure to double-check my brief in the future.

So as I finished up my last profile and emailed it off to one of the guys working on the magazine, the MD turns to me and says, ‘Come on then, let’s rock and roll. You might want to bring along a pen and some paper.’ Of course, this throws me for a minute – until I think back to the email. The message itself had been addressed to the guy on the magazine, then forwarded to me, so I’d presumed the email had been for him. Which is why the bit about the meeting with a client and me taking notes, hadn’t clicked. Next thing I know, I’m heading out of the door with the MD, five minutes up the road to where a new block of student accommodation has recently opened. We go in and I’m shaking hands with a gentleman, and then I’m taking notes and it’s all so surreal. I keep asking myself why he’d bring me along to take notes when he’s taking notes anyway, and the prematurely-optimistic part of my brain screams HE’S PUSHING YOU BECAUSE HE SEES HOW HARD-WORKING AND HOW GOOD YOU ARE AND HE’S GOING TO OFFER YOU A JOB. On the flip side, the logical part of my brain is telling me DON’T GET YOUR HOPES UP. HE PROBABLY JUST BROUGHT YOU ALONG BECAUSE IT’S THE PR LADY’S DAY OFF. IF SHE’D HAVE BEEN HERE, HE WOULD HAVE BROUGHT HER ALONG. So I just decided not to think about it at all, which really means thinking about it obsessively in a nonchalant-kind-of-way.

It’s getting harder though. The more time I spend at the office, the more I know it’s the perfect place for me. It’s the job I want, and if there’s no job offer at the end of it in July, I just know I’ll be crushed, but that’s not their fault. He did warn me at the very start that he had no full-time work to offer me just then, and he’s already recruited quite a few people, so I can’t see him taking on any more just yet. But sometimes my brain just conjures these ideal scenarios and I can’t help myself. Hope and optimism is both the best and the worst combination on occasions like these.

It also doesn’t help that I’m not happy in my job. I love going to the office so much in the mornings, and then I have to leave to go and work on a stuffy shop floor for four hours and it’s really hard. It’s not like there’s much incentive, either, since the money I do earn each month is just enough to cover my train fare and my board, leaving little else for the nice things that make work worthwhile. So I’ve been looking for other jobs – full time positions in the city that would make it more affordable for me to buy a car and be better off financially to go on holidays and on days out – to do the little things that make it bearable to go back to work on Monday morning. I’ve seen a couple of positions that I’d like to apply for, but I’m also on the fence because of this internship. It is, without doubt, the best thing to have happened to me since I Graduated, and if I got a full-time job I wouldn’t be able to continue with it. Part of me says that might be a good thing – they’ve got a good idea of what I’m capable of, of how hard I work every day I’m there, and it might make them realise how much they want to keep me. But if that isn’t the case, then I’ll have cut the internship short for desk work, and I’m not sure if that’s just a stupid move. It’s hard to know what to do in this kind of situation. I’d like my own car because it’s very rare that my train is on time, which means that I have to rush down to the office, then rush up to work while eating my lunch, then rush around the shop floor for 4 hours before rushing back down to the train station, and by that time I’m actually exhausted. It would just be nice not to spend the whole of my week rushing around like an idiot. Especially when it’s as hot as it’s been this past week.

So, lots of dilemmas. But another two really good weeks at my internship, with eight weeks left to go. Still undecided on the job front, but of course this wasn’t going to be easy, not much ever is! So stay tuned!

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