Long gone are the days of summer filled with poolside afternoons and umbrella drinks. Instead, I’ve traded in my flip-flops for heels, and my swimsuit for a power suit. This summer will chronicle my journalism internship in a field that’s slightly out of my comfort zone, and test my abilities to become business savvy in the big city.
I have to admit; I was somewhat reluctant to help with this party at first. The magazine I intern with is part of a media group that houses several major Detroit publications. It’s flagship magazine, a lifestyle publication, has an annual issue devoted to honoring Detroit’s best businesses; and like any good magazine they celebrate with the party of the season.
When I first started looking for internships at home, I applied for a PR internship with this publication. It was my dream job and after a nerve-wracking interview, I was turned down because Northwestern let’s out too late for me to work on planning this event — the main point of the internship I was told. Instead, I was handed off to the editorial department of the finance publication, which in retrospect I’m thankful for.
Needless to say, I was a little miffed when the head of the PR department, who clearly didn’t remember me, asked me to help with the party anyways, even though that was the so-called reason I didn’t get the position. I admit, it took a little fighting with my ego before I could be thankful that I was still going to get the opportunity.
Despite all of this, if I had liked the company I was working for before, I now LOVE it. The entire office spent all of Friday in a whirlwind of unproductivity. The most journalistic thing I heard all day was where the best place to get your hair done for the event that evening was located, and the most salient piece of marketing/PR information was expressed in the form of excitement about the open bar. When my boss chided me for not having gone home yet, although it was only 3 pm, that sealed the deal – this is not only a good job it’s a fun job.
In an old formal dress from freshman year, I couldn’t help but feel under accessorized for my lack of diamonds and, ahem, fake assets, as I walked into one of Metro Detroit’s trendiest casinos with a fellow intern.
After an hour of slapping wristbands on a virtual who’s who of Metro Detroit’s society royalty, we were free to enjoy the party.
I had planned this post to focus on the importance of networking. The guest list was a gold mine, and I was planning on doing some digging. However, the event turned out to be more of a parade of the young, rich and intoxicated than an opportunity to do business.
Instead, it was more of an opportunity to learn how to behave both in and out of the office. Every career counselor would probably say that as an intern, strict professionalism is the rule at all times. For the most part I agree – I tend to err on the side of professional rather than risk coming off as a party girl in front of my editor.
However, I think there’s something to be said for meshing well with your colleagues as you impress them and fitting in with the office social club while you let your work stand out. Let’s face it – you’re always more willing to help out someone you like – the same goes for your superiors.
I did manage to do a little inter-office networking while there. Although I never once talked business, I left the party with a solid contact in three different departments of the media group in addition to my goodie bag.
I was a bit in awe of the glamorous world that I had found myself in, and even more in awe of the fact that for those in the industry, this was just another day on the job. The entire night left me with a feeling of even stronger determination to leave this internship savvy enough to take advantage of my business opportunities so that one day this will be just another day on the job for me too.