What it’s like to be an intern?

Basically doing the menial work that no one else in the company wants to be doing. Hey, at least I wasn’t bringing in coffee for my colleagues everyday (that’s why we have a vending machine and a coffee maker in the pantry).

The experience that I’ve had with Leo Burnett (Malaysia) in the last three months or so was more than just an eye-opener for me; it showed me what I could and could not do, what I should and should not do, and what it means to be working. REALLY working.

To wake up regularly and take the train to work, completing tasks that need to be done while looking out for possible networking, have unnecessarily long lunch breaks and taking the train back home while thinking of what needed doing; it provided me more than a goal to obtain a decent grade for my internship. It provided me with fulfillment that I’m doing something productive and that fulfillment must derive from within.

The advertising industry has always come off to me as being gimmicky and untrustworthy, for all they want at the end of the day is consumer’s money. Even when the opportunity came along I wasn’t so sure about what I was getting into; I thought that everyday would be a living hell, but it was only when I took up this internship that I realized that the advertising industry isn’t as bad as it sounds. Granted, I’m working for a company that’s dabbled and collaborated with many known companies for their advertising campaigns, so it doesn’t feel too bad as these companies are already well-known. I can only imagine how other agencies might have a tough time with their respective clients.

I’m forever thankful to my supervisor for the first two months of my internship, for he gave little guidance (the irony) in the workplace and left me to learn on my own. More than being encouraging, he actually pointed out to me that there are some qualities that help me excel, and qualities that I lack such as teamwork. (Yes, I have to work on that more.) He was always ready to help me out when I needed it though, so that counts a lot on my book. Throughout the projects that I’ve been involved in, he’s always wanting me to speak my mind if I have something to say. There was his team, who guided me through Job Requisitions and Competitor Analyses. His team were a great bunch, but two members have since been replaced. It was around then that I met another fellow intern, Nicole who was also interning in the same group as I am.

Finally, someone who I can talk to about work!

I tried to steer clear of gossip when I can; when I do hear them I just kept my lips sealed. The light banter between colleagues were nice and relaxed, and is a needed change of pace from the stressful work (sometimes). Coming in everyday to place my bag on my desk while I grab a cup of Milo and some toast for breakfast was a mental signal to me; start working.

My internship was only supposed to last for two months but I applied for a month’s extension, to look for other prospects. Not that I didn’t want to continue working there, but I felt that I need to seek experience elsewhere before coming back.  In the meantime, I was transferred under another supervisor, who needed me to help with some of her projects. Let’s just say that the projects that she was involved in were maddening. It did not help that it was a project that switched teams and the not-so-smooth transition was affecting how we process the client’s request.

Nearing the end of my internship, I felt relieved and sad; relieved as I’ll be leaving and not having to stick to the routine that defined the past three months, sad as I don’t know what lies in my future. I’m glad that I got to know some of the colleagues, and I’ve been keeping in touch with them from time to time. Primarily for work, sometimes for chat.

The advertising industry can be unforgiving, but it can also be extremely rewarding.

What it’s like to be an intern? An experience that you’ll take to heart in your future endeavors.


What it’s like to be an intern?

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