It’s May of my senior year of college and I am freaking out. There’s pressure coming from every direction to get a job (and a super awesome one, at that), move away from my best friends (who currently live under the same roof as I), become an actual person (“Wait … but what’s a budget?”), and just be content living life as a real adult.
During my time in college, I did what every smart aspiring television producer does: I interned at a handful of different places.
I ended up quitting the worst one of the bunch on the first day, because my only assignments were to wash an overflowing sink of dishes and to “clean those ants out of the broken espresso machine when you get a sec.” I left crying at the end of the day, and then got lost in Chinatown. I’ve heard of paying your dues, but this was ridiculous.
Fortunately, though, not all of my internships were that bad. The summer going into my junior year, I lucked out majorly. Do not ask me how it happened- but it did. Over winter break, my parents wouldn’t stop bugging me to apply for a summer internship, and I was all, “you dummies, it’s way too early to apply.” (Side note: I’m now a professional woman: it’s 100% not too early to apply for summer internships in the winter – in fact, it’s PRIME TIME)
So I sent out my fledgeling résumé everywhere I could–like an absolute maniac, really. I eventually got a call back from Viacom and landed an internship at The N (a subsidiary of Nickelodeon – now called TeenNick) I wrote scripts for things that ended up on air, shadowed edit and audio sessions, and most importantly, I made connections with awesome creative people who worked there–and after I left, I kept in touch with them.
That’s the key right there. Get your experience, meet people that do what you want to be doing – and show them how great you are. That’s half the battle. If people are looking for someone to hire – they’ll remember you.
Cut back to me before college graduation. I get a voicemail from a woman named Cheryl who I vaguely remember from my summer days back at The N. “We’re looking to bring in a PA here at TeenNick, and we thought of you!”
I went in for an interview a few days after I graduated and actually got the job. What a RELIEF. And oh man, what a lucky duck I was! #blessed.
I worked as a freelance PA for over a year and a half before I started worrying about things adults worry about, like “health insurance,” and “a 401k,” and “why do my hips hurt so much when I sit down?”
I bugged my boss on a weekly basis to hire me full time–because I work hard and am very good at my job, please and thank you. It got to a point where I was ready to leave and bring my talents elsewhere–sort of the LeBron of the television industry–if I didn’t get what I wanted, and I expressed that to him. A few months later, not only did I get on staff – but I also got promoted to an Associate Producer. And it all started by applying to an internship!
So, here I am, working at what I imagined as my dream job when I graduated college. (And, if we’re being honest, pretty ready for another promotion!) I know what my next steps are – do you know yours?
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