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The Internship Experience

August 28, 2013

When I was a teenager, I took an internship with a production company. It was my first real “office experience”. I remember the night before my first day, I re-watched The Devil Wears Prada- it’s one of my favorite movies/books, and I felt it set up my first day well. I would be prepared for anything!

Even though my boss was definitely not a Miranda, she did have an image to uphold in society- and her presence sometimes felt intimidating. Overall, I feel the internship was a wonderful growing experience for me. I have a lot of funny memories. One of my favorite memories is when I attempted to puppy-sit my boss’s dog (who barked very loud every time she could not see her mommy) while she was in a very important meeting and change the batteries in a clock on the wall. I was standing on a stool, with the leash around my right wrist, attempting to lift the clock off the wall AND keep my boss’s dog quiet. I remember seeing my Boss’s assistant do a double-take through the window of the meeting room door and mouth, “Are you okay?!” Haha. There probably would have been an easier/safer way to accomplish both tasks, but at the time I hadn’t thought of one.

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Okay, so the dog wasn’t that big, but this is totally what I was imagining in my head at the time!

I learned a lot of life lessons from that internship. A good portion of those lessons were learned from mistakes. Some of the lessons I learned include:

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. I definitely had to improvise with what I was given a few times during my internship. One time my boss left me alone at the office. She told me to just pull the door shut when I left, and it would automatically lock, since I didn’t have a key. She had also asked me to tape a sign to the door instructing the Fed-Ex guy to leave the package she was expecting by the door. Well, at the end of the day- I left, pulling the door shut behind me. I was blocks away when I realized I forgot to write a note for the Fed-Ex guy. I went all the way back to the office. Since the door was locked, I had to ask the man at the front desk downstairs for a piece of paper and a pen. He gave me an ad which had a blank side and a pen. Then I asked if he had tape. He didn’t, but he found a label, which could double as something sticky to fasten the note to the door. I fixed my makeshift note to the door, and breathed a sigh of relief.

Measure twice, cut once. Man, I learned the hard way with this one. I ordered a very large amount of binders for a production the company was doing at the time. I thought I had checked everything, but when the binders arrived- they didn’t have the plastic sleeve on the front, and my boss needed binders with a plastic sleeve. Luckily, my boss was very understanding, and we were able to return the binders- no big deal. I felt terrible though, and it definitely made me double-check every order before I placed it in the future.

It’s all in the presentation. My boss always had a flair when it came to wrapping gifts for her clients. I, on the other hand, did not. I remember wrapping a gift she was going to be sending out, and it looked terrible. I never had a skill for wrapping. She was very patient with me though, and she showed me a much nicer way to go about it. It’s all in the little details. Putting the extra flair on a note, letter, gift, etc., can really show a person you care.

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I made my first “Starbucks Run”! … Okay, so I don’t think I actually learned anything from this experience, but hey- it’s all part of the job, right?

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How to take a message. Always ask for the person’s name, where they can be reached, and what their call is pertaining to. One and two can be difficult because the person was often in such a rush to leave a message and return to their busy life, they forgot to speak slowly and clearly. When in doubt, have them spell their name. Also, I often received the snappy response- “She already knows where to reach me!” in return to question 2, which lead me to have to do an unnecessary amount of detective work to find their contact information before passing the message on to my boss. As important as every single person thought they were when calling to speak to my boss- the reality is, she has bigger fish to fry than remembering every single phone number. So, guess who got stuck trying to find their contact information? Moi. This usually entailed me calling the other office and asking the assistant if she had their info on file. Sometimes Caller ID can help as well, since there is usually a call log, and you can see the last number. However, sometimes the big cheeses will have their number blocked, or be calling from a number which isn’t their own.

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The Growing Artist Signature

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