Being an Intern

Internships are ideal prior to graduating, as you will not only learn about what happens at the office, but you will also learn what you’re good at and what you’re not good at. The benefits of an internship program are:

1) Hands on experience you can’t get in college/university

2) You might be hired as a permanent staff should you do well as an intern

Most of the time, interns are just there to help out as and when they are needed. There may be times when there are no new assignments. Don’t just sit there and surf the net or chat online. Take the initiative and ask your boss or superior if there is anything they need you to work on. Don’t come across as desperate or whiney, and never say “no” to an assignment (unless it will affect your integrity). You are there to learn, and this is not the time to be fussy.

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As an intern, the type of work you may be doing could vary (expect to get an allowance between RM300-500 a month). You could be photocopying notes and papers the whole day, compiling and documenting previous assignments or helping out at events. Not only will you be able to learn more about what goes on in the office, but you will also learn what you like and don’t like doing.

There are some things you should NEVER do as an intern. Since I’m in advertising, I shall talk about what an intern should not expect in this line.

1) You should never sign off on the final artwork. That is the Creative Director’s job. This is a huge responsibility, and if anything goes wrong, you should not be made to bear the consequences.

2) You should not be servicing the client. That is what the Client Servicing people should do. NOT YOU. Dealing with clients requires people skills, patience and a rough insight on what clients want/need.

3) You should never stand in for a permanent staff just because he/she did not show up at work.

The boss/management should never expect an intern to do a designer’s job. Clients pay big money for quality work. I’m not saying an intern’s work is crap. I’m saying for the money clients pay, they should be getting their campaigns done by an EXPERIENCED designer or art director.

What happens if the job goes awfully wrong? When the headline is misaligned, kerning isn’t properly done, missing information caused by overprints, bad colour editing, or a print ad is not done in the correct measurement? Who should the client blame? The intern? Heck, if I was the client and I found out an intern handled MY campaign, a campaign I spent a few hundred thousand dollars on, I’d drop the agency and sue them for losses.

An internship is a really good way to review your objectives in life, add colour to your resume, experience the difference between working and student life, earn some pocket money and learn something new each day. But you should know that there is a limit to learning, and your boss should NEVER ask you to take on such a huge role/responsibility.

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  1. thule a.k.a leo says:

    never been an intern.. I jumped straight into workforce. Gained experience the hard way :)

  2. Bangsar Babe: Sounds like you had some bad experience with an intern? (^_^;)

  3. ~Christine~Leng says:

    tho I'm working now, i still feel like an intern, like what u describe. Guess first year at my place is like this. sigh. I'm like a YES man here.

  4. meishum says:

    Good article.Companies should know that interns are there to learn, not to be exploited.

    Sure, some might say they were bullied as interns into photocopying, filing, making coffee, and other boring but menial jobs. I myself have swept the floor and ironed clothes (as part of a tv production crew). But those are simple things. But when it comes to making your intern solely responsible for work that should be done by a professional, that's crossing the line.

    Cause it's really insane that an intern should be asked to sign off on final artwork. If you're that intern, leave. NOW.

    Remember, if you're expected to work like a permanent, full-time professional, expect to be paid like one.

  5. Bangsar-bAbE says:

    meishum – Well said, my sifu.

    Christine – It's ok to be a YES man, but there's a limit to that.

    TL – No…I have no problems with my intern, or interns for that matter. I just don't like seeing interns get bullied.

    leo – Me too, but I wished I got to do my internship. It would make things easier for me.

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