1. You get paid next to nothing but that’s okay.
Despite recent changes in the law, being an Intern is still a fancy term for cheap labour. If you’re lucky, you’ll get minimum wage plus maybe travel expenses, but a lot of companies still expect their interns to work for free. If money’s tight, then it might not be the best option, but if you can afford to support yourself for a few months while gaining some invaluable experience, you should definitely give it a shot. The lessons you learn will stay with you long after you’ve handed back that much coveted photo-ID, and if it doesn’t lead to a job opportunity, there will certainly be a glowing letter of recommendation with your name written all over it. Plus, having little or no income teaches you some pretty useful life skills. As well as working surprisingly hard (considering the lack of incentive), you’ll learn to economise effectively and appreciate the simpler things in life so when you finally get a decent pay cheque, it’ll come as a welcome surprise.
2. Getting blamed for everything has its advantages.
Everyone knows that part of an intern’s job involves taking the blame for stuff you didn’t do. It’s like a kind of unwritten rule. Whether it’s turning up late, forgetting to send out a really important email, getting the coffee order wrong, or eating someone’s ‘special’ sandwich by mistake, you should be prepared to take the wrap for everything. There’s no use protesting your innocence, because if you know you didn’t do it, chances are everybody else does too – especially the person who actually did whatever it is you’re being accused of. Just bear the injustice graciously and you’ll be reaping the benefits soon enough. When you actually do make a mistake, it’ll just be added to the teetering pile of everything else you’ve ever done wrong, and go relatively unnoticed. After a while, you’ll come to realise that unless it’s a matter of life and death, genuine culpability is actually irrelevant. Sometimes people just need someone to blame.
3. You see and hear lot of stuff you probably shouldn’t.
If you’ve been an intern, you’ll know that the job has a certain type of charm. All bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and probably just out of education, 9 times out of 10 you’ll be the baby of the office. Even if you’re not actually the youngest, everyone will still think of you as ‘green’, and although this might get a little frustrating, it too, has its advantages. People tend to associate youth with a lack of life experience, so it’s likely that you’ll be bypassed whenever anyone’s in need of advice – unless it’s on the differences between Harvard and MLA referencing systems, or what it’s like being able to drink the bar dry and wake up without a hangover because you’re only 22. But this doesn’t mean you can’t listen in on what everyone else has to say. Just as you might get blamed for someone else’s mistakes, you’ll also be privy to a bunch of information you’d never usually get to hear, whether it’s some juicy office gossip or general life observations. So keep you eyes open, your mouth shut and just enjoy the ride.
4. There’s free food. All. The. Time.
Remember the episode of Girls where Hannah gets a job at GQ magazine and there’s an entire room full of free snacks in the office? Well, being an intern is a little bit like that. The frequency, quality and variety of snacks depends on what company you work for, but generally, you’ll get given a lot of free food. Whether Subway are advertising a new themed sandwich menu, someone’s brought in cake for their birthday, or y’know, just ’cause it’s Tuesday, almost every day they’ll be new, tasty ways to supplement your paltry income. Win!
5. It can be a lot of fun.
Again, this depends on the company you work for, but in my experience, being an Intern can be pretty fun. Yes, it’s basically just work (in fact it is), and no, you’re not getting paid all that much, but who ever said working your ass off for next to nothing wasn’t enjoyable? Seriously though, work hard, play hard and get to know your colleagues, and soon you’ll feel part of the team. Plus, if you really hate it, you can just quit. They aren’t really paying you after all.