Internship Week #3: What to expect

Not knowing what to expect when you’re going on an internship to a magazine is one of the scariest parts of the entire process. Everything from what people will wear, what they will be like and what is expected from you will be pinning around your head conjuring up images of Devil Wear Prada! Now, in this post I’m going to make some quite generalised observations and sweeping statements based on my times working in magazines but here are my 5 things to expect at a magazine.

#1 – The clothes
So you’re frantically trying to pack a your entire wardrobe into a weekend case because you have no idea what the hell you are going to wear? There is no worse feeling that being under or over dressed and we often mistake it for being way more important than it really is. Like seriously, no one really cares! From every single magazine and newspaper I have been to the general dress code is casual. Always the staff member’s look presentable but I can assure you I’ve been more Nike Air Max’s in big fashion offices than I have Jimmy Choo’s. So if you want to be on the safe side pack a few smart casual outfits and you can’t loose with a pair of black skinny jeans. And don’t wear uncomfortable shoes because by your 4th run down 4 flights of stairs to the courier room you’ll be limping for sure!

#2 – The people
Obviously no one is the same and every magazine is different but in general people who work on magazines are very very busy. If you think they’re going to spend ages asking you about your life then you are wrong, occasionally a member of the team will ask and have a good chat with you but if they don’t, it’s because they’re stressing over deadline day not because they hate you. But also, magazine journalists are really just normal people, so forget that Devil wears Prada preconception and ask for help if you need it, ask the features writer if she had a good weekend and remember 
making contacts is important and they were in your shoes once!

#3 – The Office
Pha, if you’re an ocd neat freak or have spent too much time on Pinterest (eg. Me) you will have images of stark white walls, Stockholm style desks and organised filing cabinets. If you find that let me know what magazine you’re at. What you’re more likely to find is desks over filled with PR freebies, a messy unorganised archives cupboard and dirty cups and bowls with suspicious looking stains in. Yep, I love magazine offices for their manic and fast paced atmospheres but often that does mean it gets a little over crowded. (but top tip, offering to tidy these things up when there is a moment spare will get you extra brownie points!

#4 – The Fashion Cupboard
Walking into the fashion cupboard can often be like walking into Aladdin’s cave! Filled with designer clothes, beautiful shoes and handbags but unless the last intern was kind enough to tidy all these up they’re likely to be on the floor, inside out and a bit of a mess. What is worse is that they need to sorted booked in booked out and stored neatly for the next photo shoot. People often think they’re going to work in a giant wardrobe of pretty clothes that are neatly stored and it really isn’t the case. While you’re picking up these clothes you might find last months intern under there.

#5 The Role
If you think you’re going to a magazine to write a lead feature in next months issue or that you’re going to be sent to Milan on a shoot then you might be disappointed. Further still if you think you’re just going to be making tea and re-directing phone calls you will also be mistaken. Interns and workies are always viewed differently and as much as the magazine is helping you out, quite often they NEED you too. Every magazine I have been too has been slightly different and it also depends on the department you are working on but in general here are the tasks you’ll be given give or take a few. Tea round, lunch round, research, transcripts, courier room runs (x1000)), calling PR’s, buying food or cards or gifts, restocking stationary cupboards, organising archives, sending out subscriptions, writing for the web, writing captions, producing content for newsletters and the list goes on. Interning is hectic, tiring but  most of all it is fun!

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