The Intern Horror Story is typically met with sympathetic nods and diverted eyes aimed to the floor when the topic comes up in conversation. We’ve all heard scenarios of determined students eager to get their foot in the door of the industry of their dreams, clinging to the idea that a few months of hard labor will make their resume a golden ticket to social mobility. Set aside that most interns are overworked, underpaid, and end up having panic attacks when they can’t meet the unrealistic needs of their boss. In some cases, internships end up being scams for naïve students who don’t realize they are part of a Ponzi scheme, where “marketing interns” end up working as unpaid door-to-door salespeople. A little hard work didn’t kill anybody, right?
Happily, my intern experience has been more the “dream” internship. I believe success is the intersecting point of ambition and talent. At Harden Partners, my intern experience has shown me that creativity can go a long way, and when you surround yourself with driven and motivated individuals, success isn’t just the result of long term progress, but rather, everyday habits.
Being able to work as the “middleman” between the media and our clients has been one of the most rewarding aspects of the day-to-day intern experience. I’ve always had a fascination with the media- how it influences behavior, shapes society, and can be used as a tool to revolutionize how people view their lives. My second week as an intern, I was asked to pitch various local newspaper outlets. I was sitting in my office chair trying not to smile when a reporter replied to a request. “These people want to talk to me?” was one of the first revelations I had. It took me a few days to grapple with the idea that my work can move the dial for our clients to see tangible results. This experience can almost be described as therapeutic, as it’s allowed me instant gratification (or instant rejection). I also learned that there is no such thing as a “fool proof method” and sometimes taking chances can result in rewarding outcomes.
As a natural researcher, this internship has allowed me to become a pattern-seeker, a theme ambassador, and a nerd for all facts. I’ve had the opportunity to research topics- such as the intricate healthcare system- in depth to the point where I can speak to the day to day occurrences in the world and the local community. More importantly, I’ve taken ownership for the clients we represent and have begun to see that ownership is the same thing as accountability. At the end of the day, in the world of PR, there is no time for “excuses”, but there will always be time for a good storyteller. The story I will tell doesn’t reside in coffee runs or monotonous trips to the copy machine, but instead, a portfolio full of anecdotes that reflect the spirit of teamwork and creativity.
By Brianna Klipp