#20 Internships. Good Or Bad?

Hey there,

 

This is about finding what to value.

“Hello, and congrats on being chosen for an internship. Please be aware that this is an unpaid internship, though we would be pleased to offer top performers a full-time position.

We are thrilled to have you on board.”

The flow of the mail was a ride that started with glee and ended with dejection. Why was it so challenging to find a workplace that teaches and pays?

Despite my anguish, the requirement of some kind of experience in a foreign country was a prerequisite for future prospectives. Apparently ‘experience in Indian workplaces’ didn’t sit well with British companies (they should have made a clause while parting, no?).

Youngsters hoarded the place on my first day at work as my superior introduced me. My internship began with a realization that I indeed, was the eldest. The fragile sense of pride did take a hit. It was followed by instant regret and an intermittent shaking of the head with a touch of heavy sighs every now and then. ‘What have I done?’ I asked myself.

The echos loudened as I came back to my senses - it was my superior requesting me to participate in the group's discussion of a pitch presentation that was due.

When I lost myself in the gaping abyss due to some unforeseen manifestations (being the eldest there with no pay, having to compete with energetic youngsters who are probably doing this because their parents said so), I missed out on some important information. I begged his pardon and asked for a repeat of what was said.

One of the team members was asked to brief me, and while I listened to the overview, I began envisioning how I would do the task at hand. Fortunately, everyone enthusiastically agreed when I suggested to design a structure and share it with them by tomorrow.

I lost sight of the fact that it was just an internship as I headed home, driven by this blazing fire to prove myself. It oddly gave me confidence. It gave me a greater purpose. Internship with no pay? Psshh. Who needs to think about that now?

I showed them my work the following day and I still have this vivid memory of my superior saying this… verbatim, “Very few people I've met can simplify stuff to this level. You ought to do well in your career if you also prove execution!”

There it was - something far more valuable than money - a genuine compliment and recognition of my work. And a bit of challenge by ‘asking for proof of execution,’ which boosted morale even further.

My internship cleared out one thing for me, it was what I wanted: a space where I can express, create, and learn. And while that may or may not come with money, it will undoubtedly help me become the best version of myself.

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