Diary Of A Retired Fashion Intern: Part Deux
April 13, 2011 § 1 Comment
Last time I gave you a quick run-through of my first internship, but I completely forgot to tell you about the BEST. INTERNSHIP. EVER. While at H-town, I also had a second internship in the PR department at a vibrant, high-end costume jewelry company called nOir. It was amazing to be exposed to so many editors and stylists who would come into the showroom to pull things, and I actually got to do some of the pulls myself since I had the two coolest bosses in the world: Jen, the PR Director, and Lee, the CEO. My fellow intern Amelia and I would never (well, VERY rarely) find ourselves complaining…literally I think we only whined once when the evil production elf had us checking in new samples. Amelia, Jen and I became quick friends and Lee trusted us with everything. We had such a blast learning about all of the different aspects of a bustling business and we respected her and Jen both for giving us such responsibility so early in the game. Seriously, if you ever need an internship, this is THE place to go. I made amazing friends and contacts and I still make it a point to visit and attend the nOir sample sale on the regular.
You can only work as an unpaid intern for so long, and after about a total of 8 months of grabbing at every piece of knowledge I could, I applied to be the Executive Assistant for the CEO of an Entertainment PR Firm. She was INTENSE. She blatantly told me that she didn’t think I had the experience to be her assistant, but wanted me to come back on Monday and “try out” for the position…I’m pretty sure my bow tie helped lock that one in. Ok, so Monday rolled around and I was determined to beat out the competition. Then I was handed an “internship orientation” manual and was assured this was just protocol when everyone first pops in to test out the Executive Assistant position. A week later, I was beating out the competition and was granted a stipend…She still didn’t think I could be her assistant, but wanted me to stay on in the PR Department. I accepted and quickly became the go-to guy in the (very small) office, and after two weeks I was planning events for our celebrity clientele, writing all collateral materials for our accounts, and pitching clients to media; fast forward to a month later and I was walking one of our well-known clients down red carpets and advancing her at events, which was an incredible thrill for me.
Throughout my time there, the CEO would literally scream at all of us, call us pieces of shit to our faces, make us work anywhere from 11pm-3am daily, and force us to come in on weekends and holidays while she jetted off to the Bahamas for the weekend. Whatever, I decided that I would suck it up and do it because I wanted to get ahead in this business. After being the only writer in the office (which relied SOLELY on interns who our clients were told were official employees) I had to have the discussion about legitimate payment. I was being taken advantage of. Yes, the perks were incredible and I was learning more than I ever had about PR and the whole landscape of media, however I was being presented to our clients as an actual employee…with business cards…making a DAILY INTERN STIPEND. So, when I presented her with my offer, she said I just wasn’t ready for that responsibility, but she would “take care of me.” What?!? Listen, a bitch has to pay his rent, and what I was making each month wasn’t enough to cover that and food, so I rarely ate and became extremely thin (bonus), but then I literally couldn’t think straight at work and would start making minor mistakes and forgetting things…nothing major, until I forgot to submit my client for an event while my boss was out of town. Meanwhile, I wasn’t allowed to even send an email without her approval, and I would be waiting until all hours of the night for her to respond…talk about unproductive. I had had enough of her ballistic outbursts and decided to leave, and now have the best job everrrr working for a kick-ass boss with some fantastic fashion, beauty, and lifestyle clients! Moral of the story: work your ass off, but know when you’re being taken advantage of. You deserve better, and you will be ok!
Alright, now that you’re all up to speed on my career path, we can look forward to more fun-themed entries!
Talk Soon, kidlets.