The Good Ship Jobseeker – To intern or not to intern?
Applying for a job? There are many of us in the job application boat at the moment, and some are dealing with it better than others. I find it absolutely gut-wrenching to put myself forward to be accepted or rejected. I absolutely hate doing it, but I’ve been out of work now since I took redundancy in September, so it’s time to pimp myself out to prospective employers.
What started out as “I’ll concentrate on college while I move my life to Dublin” turned into “ah sure it’s nearly Christmas now, I’ll look more seriously when the new year arrives” turned into “I’m terrible and no one will want to employ me and I hate myself.” Having hopefully turned the spiral into depression around – I’ve had plenty of practice by now – I’m ready to get properly serious about looking for something to do for cash. I’ve given myself a month to get a rake of applications in, but really, the job (well, internship) I’ve just applied for is the one I want.
My career change from Radio Production Person to Digital Marketing Person has always had the Arts in its sights. Call me idealistic, but I’d like to spend my charm and effort on informing people about and enticing people towards the wealth of artistic talent and endeavour strewn around the country. So when an internship opportunity presented itself in the Marketing department of the IFI, I was determined to give it my best shot.
I hate the idea of working for nothing, but it seems that marketing internships are the best way to gain a foothold in this industry. If a JobBridge internship is going to pay me slightly more than the Dole – and quite a bit less than the minimum wage for an experienced adult – then that is better than no money at all. Hopefully, the training and experience I would gain would be worth the slightly-straitened circumstances.
It’s an odd one, but I would rather do a genuine internship and get some money from it. The JobBridge scheme is not intrinsically evil – it’s the companies chancing their arm looking for free (experienced) labour that have given it such a bad name. And, well, if the scheme exists, I’d rather see Arts organisations benefiting from it (and providing experience and training to up-and-coming awesome folks like myself) than cheapo companies looking for experienced web developers to make them a website for free, or shelf-stackers, or yard workers, and having the gall to call it an internship.
It’s still something I have to justify to myself, though. I know that the fact that I’m in a financial position to work for very little puts me at an advantage over people with families and mortgages and partners who are also out of work. That said, taking redundancy was in part to enable myself to make this change. I may as well take the opportunities if they arise.
I’m also determined to enjoy the job application process. I figure the more passion and personality I put into applications, the more positive the initial impression I make will be. Those of you who are now numb from numerous unsuccessful interviews and cover letters will probably tell me that I’m on a short road to angst, but I’m going to try it this way for a while, at least.
Wish me luck – and I’ll keep you posted on how I get on!