By: Bobby Durben
The Bible. The Koran. The Talmud. A wadded-up handful of L. Ron Hubbard’s used tissues. For every faith, there is a holy text that guides the thoughts and actions of its followers. And while internship is practically a religion (sometimes we do work on Sundays – so yes, it is), the closest thing we have to a scripture is Cash Flow for Dummies.
Therefore, I’ve taken it upon myself to pull together some lessons to live by. I present to you…
The Rules of Internment.
Wait. Wait, no. That’s not gonna work. What about…
The Intern Rules of Engagement.
Thou Shalt Not Arrive Late to Meetings
Meetings. They’ve been planned in person, offhandedly mentioned in the elevators, confirmed with us over email or even just appeared ominously on our calendars as if out of some office-themed Paranormal Activity reboot.
No matter what the time, location, or purpose, there are always one or two people that show up late. They quietly shuffle in five, maybe even ten minutes after it’s kicked off. So why shouldn’t we? Well, these are the people that are supposed to be late to meetings. You know, the ones who actually have so many important projects going on that they’re probably finishing up more work on their walk over. We few, brave interns? We don’t get to show up late. And so we shall arrive one minute early every time, quietly sat in a row with notepads in hand like the second graders we truly are at heart. Evan, stop eating that glue. Evan. EVAN.
Thou Shalt Not Miss Screenings
… for they are full of delicious meals far beyond our culinary capabilities, as well as frequented by plenty of veteran employees who may have advice (or better yet, work) for us.
Thou Shalt Never Turn Down a New Opportunity
We arrived here at 53 State Street with sharp wits and sharper pencils, ready to kick in the festively-decorated and beer-soaked door of the advertising industry, flip the living room couch over and light it on fire while blasting Motorhead out of a retro boombox. Unfortunately, it seems we were not the first to do so and the creative department was not only sufficiently prepared for our arrival, but was even looking forward to a few extra pairs of hands (turns out they love new wave British heavy metal, too.)
There’s a lesson to be learned in everything you do. Yeah, we’re here to create groundbreaking work – but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t help out in other areas as well. And if that means lugging C-stands through the rain during rush hour while a cab driver calls you things you wouldn’t repeat to your own mother, then so be it. Who knows? You may even get to meet David Ortiz (or stand on the wrong side of a locked door from him, although there’s still a very favorable chance you breathed the same air and at the end of the day, isn’t that all any of us really want?)
Thou Shalt Not Empty The Coffee Pot Without Refilling It
… because we are not assholes, and should not act as such.
Thou Shalt Be Both Proactive and Reactive
Guess what – people are busy. While they might be able to use some help, they don’t always have the time to come ask. What’s an intern to do? Uh, duh. Go ask! Knock on a couple doors, fake-stumble into a couple VP’s offices, maybe even ask a senior copywriter if he has family up in Saskatoon because last time you were there you saw a cross-country ski guide who looked just like him and – he doesn’t? Not even a second cousin? Fair enough, forget I said anything. Still might be worth a look at Ancestry.com though. It’s also as simple as casually introducing yourself and offering to help with anything they might need – but where’s the fun in that? .
On the other hand, you may get an email from your supervisor at 8 PM. This email may let you know that some campaign got shortlisted or perhaps even won an award. Hooray! It may also imply that you need a congratulatory piece ready first thing tomorrow morning. And you may already be at home, shirtless, eating Cheetos out of your belly button while quietly mumbling all the wrong answers on Jeopardy. Err… too bad. Time to get up, dust yourself off (literally – don’t want powdered cheese on your keyboard) and pound out a couple headlines with the help of your co-interns. This isn’t a job you punch in and out at. When art directors are staying until the wee hours of the morning to meet deadlines, you better believe you can suck it up and do a little work at night when need be.
Thou Shalt Be Grateful for the Opportunity
It’s not every day that your first job in any career involves working with some of the most talented, celebrated, approachable, straight-up cool-as-shit people in the industry. I mean, I got a free flat brim hat within an hour of walking in the door my first day. Our catering director offers us delicacies ranging from donuts and sandwiches to what I believe may have been manatee steak on a frequent basis. Hell, even the CEO sat us down to tell us about how she interviewed for the receptionist job here straight out of college and still isn’t quite sure how she got it. See my point?
Maybe we have to stay a little late some days. Maybe some of our fellow commuters have a less-than-ideal sense of personal space and hygiene. Maybe the comically-oversized pigeons consistently corner you on your walk back to the train, rip your sandwich out of your trembling hands and kick dirt in your face before sending you on your way with tattered boxers and tears in your eyes. All things considered, we’re still pretty fortunate to be here. Now isn’t there a screening you could be eating for free at?