In Turn: My Experiences as a Non-Profit Intern #5

I’m at an interesting place with the Habitat internship right now. It just stopped being possible to drive the 35 minutes to the ReStore every Friday on top of classes starting and needing to put my gas money somewhere else. So I emailed my bosses asking them if it was alright to just work exclusively from home like I do the rest of the week. They both understood my situation and agreed to keep in better communication about upcoming events and information. I’m sure none of us are surprised that I have yet to hear from them again.

I plan on emailing them tomorrow asking for any photos or specific things they want posted, but I’m not expecting a response any time soon. I desperately want to help the business, and I have already seen improvements in their online presence thanks to my efforts. Yet I can only do so much and now I fully understand why the ReStore has been having so many problems for so long. Everyone in charge is so eager for change, but do very little to help those who are trying to bring about the changes.

My shift from coming to the store to working exclusively at home should not have had any significant impact seeing as all the work I do is online anyway. I’m pessimistic however that communication will improve even with all my efforts and clear attempts to explain what I need from them. At least I’m learning how to work with difficult people and still try to accomplish things.

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In Turn: My Experiences as a Non-Profit Intern #4

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I’m playing a game of telephone that I did not want to play.

There are a lot of positives to interning at a place like the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. I feel like I’m really helping Habitat get their name out there more and make profits in order to build more houses. I’m gaining good experience to put on my resume about building an online presence for a company. But the communication here sucks.

I’m not sure if it’s because one of my two bosses doesn’t actually work at the ReStore and is just on the board of Habitat or what, but it’s damn near impossible to get feedback from either one of them. It’s  like I’m playing a terrible game of telephone and I just can’t seem to get the information I need from them. I made a newsletter to send out monthly and sent it to both of them at least three weeks ago to see what they thought about it. Still no feedback from either one of them after multiple resends and asking them about it.

I think I’ve been doing a decent job with keeping content up to date though considering I still don’t have a firm grasp on exactly what events/promotions are coming up or what either one of my bosses wants publicized. I managed to pull a few dates from the manager in the store by asking him to fill out a calendar I made and sent to him, but I still feel like I’m drowning in a sea of unknown.

Any suggestions or words of advice would be greatly appreciated.

The photo is from tumblr.

In Turn: My Experiences as a Non-Profit Intern #3

It’s hard trying to take a company to a new place, even harder when everyone employed has no idea how to keep up your efforts once you leave. I’m facing this problem right now with my internship. I’ve been working incredibly hard to get the Habitat for Humanity ReStore a better, consistent online presence and have developed a very professional looking email newsletter through mailchimp. My biggest worry is that everything I’m doing is going to die as soon as my internship is over.

I have plans on making how-to guides with screen shots to show my “replacement” how to do everything from log on to Facebook to redesigning the newsletter for each month. I’m just weary of much work that’s actually going to end up being.

If only they had some funds to pay someone like me to keep up the sites. It would be so much easier to just keep someone from my generation on the payroll rather than scrambling after I leave. It’s impossible for me to keep giving away my time for free anymore though. Graduation is looming and internships aren’t going to keep cutting it.

In Turn: My Experiences as a Non-Profit Intern #2

The Thanksgiving break kept me away from the ReStore for a few weeks. I didn’t mind the break, but at the same time I like doing work for the store. During my drive in this morning I dealt with a consistent rain that would later begin turning into snow. My eagerness for the day quickly faded.

One thing that’s really become apparent over the few times I’ve worked at the ReStore: there are a lot of characters here. Once I got to the store I was greeted eagerly by the manager who is always more than willing to sit around and talk for hours on end. He spills company problems and turmoil like he’s merely talking about what he’s had for breakfast that morning. He means well I’m sure. The most interesting of the characters thus far has been who I’ve concluded must be the assistant manager. I’ll provide you with a very similar image of what he looks like.

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He literally wanders the store in his cowboy hat looking as if he’s lost his trusty steed. Every conversation I’ve had with him is about some guy who keeps putting passwords on the computer I use to work on the marketing. He adamantly informs me each time that he will wipe the computer again if he does it another time. I feign sympathy and wait till he tires his cowboy-self out with his rant.

This place is interesting. I like people with character.

In Turn: My Experiences as a Non-Profit Intern #1

Yep. I’m back at it with yet another internship. I have a tendency to get internships really easily, but never ones that pay. This time however, I’m working for Habitat for Humanity. I’m excited to get some non-profit work in while building my resume.

Today is technically my second day. The resale store where I’m stationed at is 30 minutes away from my apartment (on a good day without traffic) and being a struggling college student like everyone else, I don’t have the gas money to come work more than once a week on location. So every Friday I get  up bright and early and make the drive here. During the rest of the week I work on things from home.

This internship is definitely a lot different from my other ones. It’s literally a resale shop ran under the Habitat for Humanity name. It looks like your average Goodwill or Salvation Army, but without clothing and with a LOT better furniture. I fight the urge to buy up all the cheaply priced yet good quality furniture on a daily basis.

My job as the intern here is to improve their online presence. Surprisingly enough, it’s not that bad to begin with; I’m just touching things up and updating things more regularly than had been done in the past.

The people here are incredibly interesting. I’m used to well dressed advertising agents or banking moguls at my internships. Here everyone is a volunteer and each person is quirky in their own way. It’s an odd bunch, yet I feel incredibly comfortable and at ease working with them. At least I know none of us are getting paid.

I have a feeling this internship is going to provide a lot of interesting stories to share with you all ( :

In Turn: My Experiences as a Banking Intern #2

I’m almost two weeks into the program at this point and I am completely loving it. At the start of last week I attended the usual orientation sessions filled with ice-breakers and team building. Although those days weren’t necessarily fun, at the end of the week I went to the branch I will be working at to meet everyone and do observations. I seriously adore everyone at the branch. I can’t believe how nice they were to me and how willing they were to just let me into their club of sorts. By the end of the week I was gossiping with fellow employees a number of years older than me  just like I would my college friends. I didn’t want to leave but I had to go to teller training so I could learn how to actually do something while I am at the branch.

The thought of teller training terrified me when I was first informed that’s what we would be doing this first summer. Yet today marked the third day of five and I am actually really enjoying myself. I found ways to overcome my math impairment and it’s been smooth sailing ever since. There are so many little details to the process that it keeps my detail-orientated mind entertained and I find myself itching to complete transactions. I think I may be becoming a banker…

The final exam to get certified as a teller is on Friday, then back to the branch on Monday. How fast time is going; it’ll really start to feel worth it when I see that first paycheck.

In Turn: My Experiences as a Banking Intern #1

I bet you’re thinking, “I thought it you were interning for an advertising agency!?” Well my time at the agency has come to a close after I completed my 150 hours. I made a number of fantastic connections while I was there that will hopefully lead to many great opportunities in the future (like being the production coordinator on a documentary this summer and doing some modeling in the fall perhaps?! I’ll keep you posted!) I am now an intern with a bank; one of the first interns to be part of a new program that was started between the bank and the university. (Just for security’s sake I won’t name names when talking about this internship like I did with the advertising one!)

I’m a communications major with a focus in advertising and public relations, so what the heck am I doing working at a bank!? I’m still not too sure myself, but the opportunity presented itself and I wasn’t about to pass up something that could be huge for my future. So although I don’t fit the usual bank intern bill, they accepted me into the program all the same. My hope is to find a way to apply what I have been learning and am passionate about to the banking industry instead.

So needless to say my summer will be non-existent. The program lasts right up to the start of fall semester and is basically a full time (paid!!) job. This summer I’ll basically be working as a teller (we will see how that goes…) and if I do well and they want me to return for the second summer of the program I’ll be trained as a personal banker…but we are getting ahead of ourselves.

In Turn: My Experiences as an Advertising Intern #3

It’s been a busy couple of weeks at the agency!! Like most jobs (hell, life in general) there are good days and bad days. In general though, I’ve been enjoying my time and learning quite a lot about a variety of aspects of the business.

Since about a month ago I’ve been working on decorations for an Alice in Wonderland themed event. I’ve really enjoyed having creative freedom on a number of different aspects of the event. I made sure to take photos for my portfolio:

The event turned out amazing and I heard later (I couldn’t afford the very expensive price per plate) everyone loved the decorations!

I’ve written a few press releases for actual events (unlike all my past press releases that were completely made up) that I’ll be able to use in the future as well.

However today was one of the most frustrating days of this whole experience. As soon as I walked into the agency I was rushed back out again on a pretty silly errand. I was asked to run to an Office Max to find avery specific folder that I knew before I made it back to my car there was no way I was going to find this thing. So off I went, finding nothing after two stores, and was told to find a “unique” folder or just get black ones. It’s the off season for school supplies so there wasn’t anything “unique” and I ended up grabbing average black folders.

Once back in the office I was faced with the task of trying to get reimbursed for everything. I left for the day still needing to be repaid $5. I had returned to working on something else when I overheard the Big Boss talking to the Sales Lady about the folders. He literally called them “crap” and “something a high schooler would use”. Although he didn’t say it to my face, it still hurt. What was I supposed to do with the directions I was given? What other result did the Big Boss expect?

I was in quite the sour mood after that, feeling as if I wasn’t making a good impression on anyone in the office. I felt better when the Boss gave me a media planning/buying task I had been wanting to try my hand in for a while, but I still was taking the whole situation too personally.

Good days or bad, I’m lucky to have this internship and get hands on experience in the field. These crappy days are going to happen, and people are going to be unnecessarily rude. I’ll grow tough skin, and ultimately dominate this business. Or at least get very close.

In Turn: My Experiences as an Advertising Intern #2

Today was the best day of my internship thus far. I was busy the entire time I was there with interesting things to do. Here are some highlights from my day:

  • I was moved into the production room where it’s warmer because the agency hired a new woman who took my usual desk out in the cold lobby.
  • I now work at one of the design computers so I get to use a pretty, shiny Mac.
  • I created an actual, legit press release. Gone are the days of fake press releases for fake companies.
  • I shredded hundreds of entry forms that I had inputted into a spreadsheet a week ago. I was a shredding machine!
  • I mildly annoyed Boss for the first time by asking one too many questions, but I also think I’ve been impressing her with my efficiency.
  • I finished up an envelope/prize promotion I’ve been working on for a few days. I really liked seeing the project through to the end.
  • I was given a company email address!
  • With aforementioned email address I emailed a number of different stores about their promotional card supplies. I felt so important sending emails from my smancy new email address.

In Turn: My Experiences as an Advertising Intern #1

Today marked my first day at my new internship; the one whose interview had me all sorts of anxious a few weeks ago. As I walked the couple of blocks to the office–only running on a few hours of anxiety filled sleep from the night before–I felt optimistic. I arrived at the advertising agency exactly as a nearby church chimed the hour and I was pleased at how perfectly I had timed my walk.

My boss and her girl Friday (what I’ll be calling them from now on) were rushing around accomplishing morning tasks and getting the paper work ready for me as I stood trying to not be as awkward as I had been at the interview. I made a silent vow to myself to speak up and be less meek; I chalked the brief meeting with Boss about the basic outline of my internship as a success.

I was then guided by Girl Friday through the ins and outs of the office and all the classic intern-y things I would be doing. As Boss and Girl Friday mulled over what I could do for the first day, Boss let out a few comments that slightly dripped with “gotta love having an intern to do all the crappy tasks.”

And happy I was to do them. I spent the rest of my first day typing up addresses and emails from a drawing the agency did for one of their tire company clients. As I struggled trying to read countless indecipherable scrawlings, I amused myself by noting ridiculous email addresses. After a particularly terrible one (“mama smurf”), I saw this as an opportunity to build some rapport with Girl Friday. She laughed at the address and empathized about the horrid handwriting on most of the sheets. I could feel a smidgen of formality chip away between us. Another success.

After putting in data for over 50 people with terrible handwriting and a few more interesting email addresses later (“I live in volcanic ash” being my favorite), I wiped down the overly shiny counters in the front lobby like the intern that I am and was released.

I already have a game plan in place for conquering this internship. I’ve seen enough TV shows and movies to know the tricks from going from a lowly intern to someone with insight and ideas that are valuable and wanted. I have to wow them with how easy all the mundane tasks are (in the scenario in my head I’m chuckling as I say, “Psh, it was nothing”) so they start giving me things with meat. I’ve been told I’ll be able to work on actual campaigns, but I don’t want to waste time doing silly tasks trying to show them that I’ve mastered the ability to refill printers.

I’m excited to see where this new opportunity takes me.

Photo is from here.