Stepping into my Intern shoes: Week 13

It’s taken me a while to wrap up my Internship experience and write this post because it’s been a really sad end to a really great experience. I didn’t get offered a job, but that’s just the way it goes I suppose. At the moment they don’t really have the means to add to their team, and I fully respect that. I’m a little gutted, I won’t lie, but there’s no use in crying about it.

My last week was much like any. I was busy chasing up loose ends so that when my last day arrived, I wouldn’t be leaving anything up in the air. As a way of making sure this didn’t happen, I created a comprehensive handover document for the PR lady, with a list of everything I’ve been dealing with while she’s been away. To look at, it must have been pretty overwhelming, but I felt kind of proud reading through it because it showed just how much I’d done in my time there. So even though I won’t be the newest member of their team, I’ve been able to walk away from the office knowing that I’ve made a real difference, and that’s not something money can buy.

On my last day, I was kind of sad and excited and dreading it all at the same time. The night before I made some chocolate-y treats and wrote a little message in the thank you card I bought for the team. When I arrived that morning, I cannot tell you how much of an anti-climax it all was. In actual fact, it was kind of hilarious. Of all the mornings I’ve turned up to a full office, the only people there on that last morning was me and one member of the sales team. As the morning went on, more people trickled in, and my treats went down well. I’m pretty sure one of the freelance writers kept sneaking into the kitchen to get another, which made me smile.

The first goodbye was one of the sales ladies who has been really nice throughout my internship. She’s great at her job, and she’s just one of those people who can talk to anyone, so when she just said, ‘thanks for all your hard work and, well, thanks for being you!’, I may just have had a little lump in my throat. Then the Managing Director came in and handed me a present from the PR lady. She was still on holiday, but she’d left me a gift from Hong Kong – some chocolates with a sticky note on the box. The message was simple but touching and I may or may not have had another little lump in my throat.

As 1pm drew nearer, my stomach started churning. I didn’t want to leave because I was afraid I might cry, and that was not the impression I wanted to leave them all with. Still, I couldn’t exactly sneak out without saying thanks. When the time came, the MD walked me to the door and asked what was next for me. I told him I didn’t really know, maybe I would try and find something full-time in administration since that kind of experience is essential for editorial work. Then perhaps a move down South might be in order if I really want to give this career of mine a good go. He was more than happy to provide me with a reference, and even gave me some advice about finding work through an organisation for which he’s resident on the Board of Directors. Apparently they have some handy online training courses and they even advertise jobs on their website, linked directly to the publishing industry. I told him it was just a case of knowing where to look and getting my foot in the door somehow, and thanked him for the internship and all the responsibility he’d given me. He said the PR lady had told him I was an asset and thanked me for all my hard work.

I walked out of there with tears in my eyes and actually had a little cry as I walked back towards the city centre. Not to be dramatic or anything, but I can’t tell you how hard it was to walk to work that afternoon and go and fold jeans for four hours, knowing that I was officially back to square one. If there’s anything I can’t help but take away from this whole experience, it’s that getting a job these days feel almost impossible. Everything seems to stand against you – you either have not enough experience or too much. Employers want to know why you have such a mix of employment history – retail and admin and blogging work – and how it’s relevant to the position you’re applying for, without considering that maybe we just try and get whatever work we can to earn money. Sometimes that’s as simple as it is.

I’ve found it really hard not to be disheartened about the internship coming to an end and not leading anywhere. When you put so much effort into something in your free time and it doesn’t quite pan out how you wanted it to, it’s heart-breaking. Now, a week later, I’m finding it difficult to adjust to going back to just having my retail job. It was nice to have something in the mornings to look forward to. To have something to do that I knew was actively contributing to my future. Now, I’m spending those mornings searching for jobs in admin to try and get out of retail. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve learned a lot, but it’s not the job for me. It’s time to put my degree to use and start enjoying working again. I’m twenty-two. I have nothing to lose at this point. As much as I’d love to just up and move to London where all the major publishing houses are, I have to be tactical and practical about this. My head is telling me to get an admin job, build up those skills for a couple of years until they become almost second-nature, and then consider the London move again when I’ve actually had the chance to save for it. It makes sense that when I finally get that Editorial Assistant role, being familiar with the admin side of things will make it so much easier to acclimatise to the newness of the job.

For now, all I can do is keep applying and hope that I find something soon. The aim is to be out of retail before Christmas, because I really don’t know if I can hack another Christmas in retail. I don’t know if that will actually happen, but feel free to keep your fingers crossed for me!

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