Some of you luckier ones out there might still be in that “cool summer job” phase this time around. You know what I mean: lifeguarding, babysitting, camp counseling, etc. — basically anything that’s not supposed to be preparing you for your future career path.
Up until last summer, I was in that boat myself with a cushy job at the local recreation department on the Jersey Shore (no, not that one) that involved a lot of playing sports with little kids and otherwise getting paid to sit around and do nothing. Now I’m taking a class while working a full-time unpaid internship. Go figure.
But that’s not at all to say that I’m looking at Summer 2013 as a wash. If you’re looking to sort out how to handle your commitments this summer while still having a good time, you’ve come to the right place. 4E is here with InternTips. A handy reoccurring post that will help you out with intern life.
Yes, you may no longer have the luxury of that beautifully cushy job where you got paid to tan or watch TV, but that doesn’t mean that it’s time to flip the switch and start working yourself to death. Even legitimate professionals take the summer easier than the rest of the year — people are noticeably less motivated to get work done in their depressing cubicle when it’s hot and sunny outside.
And newsflash: If you are going to be in D.C., it’s going to be extra hot and sunny for you. No one wants you to flood your internship office with your sweat, especially considering the fact that, in all likelihood, YOU’RE NOT EVEN GETTING PAID. So chill out.
That said, let’s not go crazy with the lazy. There’s certainly something to be said for getting a leg up, so constant slacking off just isn’t going to cut it once you’ve gotten to my unfortunate rising junior phase.
Internships are annoying and borderline enslavement, yes, but they also represent your only real chance to secure recommendations to show to future employers. It’s easy from a shortsighted perspective to see why the thought of getting fired from an unpaid internship might actually be kind of nice — you’d make the same amount partying or sitting playing Xbox as you would at that office at McPherson Square, after all.
You’re going to be asked what you did each summer, and you’ll be expected to provide concrete details. Make sure you’ve earned something tangible to say.
Perhaps you’re able to get by at your job by working only when the higher-ups are around, and you trick them into thinking you’re doing stuff. If so, then honestly, congrats, because you’ve managed to beat the system. But for the rest of us, presumably working with/for moderately intelligent people, then you’re going to have to put in the time and put in the effort. It might only be photocopying — which seems to be a great deal of what interns and even lower-level employees are doing nowadays — but it still counts. And it’s really not that difficult. Buck up, and do some work!
Okay, so at this point I’m not sure I can make my ultimate message here any more obvious. Summers can be big in terms of showcasing your legitimate, employable talents: “All right, you’re an A/B/C student. Now let’s see what you can actually do.”
No one in our society anymore seems to be allowed to graduate without at least one internship, which means that those without them aren’t nearly as competitive. Taking classes to boost school-year grades or open up more time during the year (maybe for another internship) can make sense for some people too.
But don’t kill yourself over all of it.
In fact, if you’re the type of kid who feels the need to sacrifice all fun things just to work, then you’re likely also the type of kid who badly needs time off to relax and recharge.
When you get home from your internship or you finish up the day’s classes, allot some “me time” for yourself. Maybe that means throwing your work clothes on the floor, kicking your feet up to watch some TV or just getting away completely and enjoying the weather outside.
At the same time, don’t let yourself do nothing, either. You know the old adage: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” And it will also make you jobless, unmarketable and lazy.
Could a summer of 24/7 work help you toward your goal of running the world one day? Sure. But you can’t sacrifice on treatin’ yourself at least every once in a while. You go to Georgetown; you’ve earned it.
Stay strong out there, Hoyas. And remember: balance.