First, IN MY DEFENSE…this photo makes me look like I was an intern in 1986, if you look at that computer. In all reality, everything in our PBS station was from 1986, even though it was 2005. I am not that old. That was a crochety computer even then.
Anyway…the other day we were at Schreiner University in Kerrville listening in on some classes and playing the coffee house series at the student union that night. One of the super nice frat guys that helped set up chairs asked, “How do you get to be a tour manager?” I said, “Work really hard for free for a long time.” In other words, make yourself an intern.
Josh, my fellow KNME intern, now works full time there. He does their social media, a job that didn’t even exist when we interned in the prehistoric ages of 2005. In fact, we invited the first ever blogger guest to appear on In Focus, the local show we worked on. Our overlords at the time said, “Blogger? What type of respectable news source is a blog?” We won and the blogger appeared on the show. Turns out we were so right. (Her name is Chantal Foster, she started Duke City Fix, the best ABQ blog around ifyouaskme).
So Josh worked for free at KNME and landed a sweet job. I worked for free selling t-shirts and carrying stuff into venues, which after a while naturally turned into more stuff, which after a while allowed me to acquire enough skill that made what I do…reimbursable.
Now I work with Team SG and Rubicon Artist Development, and a big part of my job is social media…but with a focus of building a community with social media as the means of collecting and maintaining that community. The other night I was one some tangent driving home from a show, as I am wont to do, and I estimated that I have been studying social media for about 7 years now and actively using it to engage people online for a purpose for at least 4. That’s a long time in internet years.
All that experience, in which I worked for free, is now parlaying into paid time in forming useful and profitable online presences for the organizations I work with. It takes a lot of try, fail, and try again to get to a point where I feel comfortable calling myself knowledgeable about anything…and then something new breaks through and I start learning all over again.
The point is, I guess, to value your time. This goes both ways…value your time so that you get paid for what you do. However, if you’re drawn to something but are in the beginning stages of it, value your learning time. Sometimes the internship is the best doorway to bigger and better.