Working in Pajamas - A Virtual Internship - Intern Wardrobe
- Shelby Paddison
- On September 12, 2014
Internships are the mysterious, under-appreciated and over-looked learning opportunities of our generation.
They provide support, an office environment, a chance to learn new things, a great excuse to buy office wear, and of course, the experience that will lead to the ever-approaching job of a lifetime.
We tend to see internships as being exclusively for those in their elusive 20’s because, let’s be honest, it’s pretty much the only time of your life where it’s acceptable to sleep on a friend’s sofa in the city so that you can work for nothing.
It’s generally agreed that internships are useful as they lead to experience, which in turn leads to better job prospects. My internship is slightly different: I do all of the above from home.
I work for a London-based culture magazine called The Upcoming, and my job title is Assistant Culture Editor. I found the ad on Gumtree because they were looking for sub-editors to join the team, so I applied, sent off an example of my work, and got an email back a day later offering me a position.
From there I had a small amount of training in using the CMS and publishing articles from scratch, but mainly I was just a proofreader. After two weeks, I joined the Culture Desk as a temporary measure because we were down on editors, and 5 months later I’m still there.
My job ended up changing quite a lot, and I had much more training. I quickly became involved in not just editing, but dealing with PRs and agencies, communicating with our freelance writers and photographers on a daily basis, securing accreditation for concerts, exhibitions, screenings etc around London, and working to much stricter deadlines! (Again, I do all of this from home!)
So how does it work exactly? How do I do all of this from a computer at my desk? Well, I guess the same way most jobs are done from computers at a desk. I just have Netflix on my TV as a backdrop instead of an office. Most of my work is done through emails and our CMS, and we have a very extensive planner, which documents our events for the week, our writer and photographer timetables, our PR activity and quotes, and a whole bunch of admin stuff.
What’s great about working from home is that my hours are much more flexible. I generally try to work every day, including weekends (although there are exceptions of course), and I’m usually online sporadically throughout the day. If I have to go out somewhere, it’s not a problem, I can just inform my supervisor that I will be offline for a few hours and then pick up where I left off when I get home. We meet up occasionally, and we chat on a daily basis via WhatsApp and Webmail chat to discuss what needs doing that particular day or any problems we have. It’s simple, effective, and it works for everyone.
Another major bonus is that I actually write for The Upcoming too. I can occasionally snatch up a press night for a theatre show or a place at a one off exhibition and then submit my review ready for publication.
Working from home sounds amazing, right? Well, there are downsides too. You don’t get the travel expenses paid, you don’t get the free lunches, and you don’t get the office environment (which is an experience in itself). Sometimes it’s too easy to be distracted, and you have to get yourself into a routine where you force yourself to do some work. There are no set hours, which means you could be working until 11pm or 12pm at night, but again that depends on your schedule and when you choose to be online.
It comes down to that cheesy cliché: you only get as much out of it as what you put in.
I’ve learnt a lot about myself from this internship; my English and editing skills have improved more over the past six months than they did over one year at university, and I’m now much more confident in dealing with PR activity, problem-solving, and making editorial decisions. It’s difficult, but it’s worth it.