Life at the New Statesman: Part 2
October 14, 2010 5 Comments
Following on from ‘Life at the New Statesman: Part 1, which looked at the process of getting settled in an organisation today I am going to talk about having focus whilst interning.
What do you mean focus?
Everyone has specific interests, hobbies and passions and this applies to our working life as well as our non-work life. As an intern you are many things to many people, often asked to take on the more mundane and time-consuming tasks required to keep a business running day-to-day.
However as an intern you are there to gain valuable experience for yourself as well; so you need to make sure that from time to time you are completing work that complements what you want to learn and what skills you want to improve. There are a couple of ways to go about doing this:
1. Do not offer yourself out to the entire office too often, although when you do have no work you should go looking. Don’t get into the habit of taking on anything and everything. By being selective you can build up a new skill set that becomes valuable to both you and the office.
2. Try and build up a relationship with a few key members of staff and by this I don’t mean sucking up to as many senior members as possible. Instead, identify those staff members whose work interests you and ask if you can help with it.
3. See if you can be set a larger project or a research project for the duration of your internship, this can have several advantages
- You always have work to do when no one needs anything
- You can show off skills you may not have been able to otherwise
- Depending on what you are asked to do you might be playing a part in something much bigger than your day to day work – a special conference, supplement or pitch for instance.
As an intern you can spend so much time being all things to all people that you don’t get the time and attention you need to develop yourself. By building and maintaining a few key relationships within the editorial team at the New Statesman I felt that I had people I could ask questions (even if they were a bit silly) and that I could ask for more challenging work from time to time.
I also had more experienced people to talk to about my own ambitions and aspirations and receive advice and tips from. After all, the chances are you are not being paid and you need to remember that you are trying to make yourself more attractive to potential employers, so you must make the best of the opportunities available to you.