Archive for the ‘Internships’ Category

In the past 15 years internships have gone from a great opportunity to rise above the rest, to a requirement to even be considered for an interview (and then face rejection in favor of someone with more internships.) Although internships as we know them have been around for a while, there has been a clear shift in their purpose and benefit. In fact, people are getting fed up and have begun fighting back against big companies, including Warner Music Group.

According to Forbes, there are the six legal requirements for a position to be considered an internship:

  1. The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training which would be given in an educational environment.
  2. The internship experience is for the benefit of the intern.
  3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff.
  4. The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern; and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded.
  5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship.
  6. The employer and the intern understand that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship.

If these guidelines were followed by every company offering internships, there wouldn’t be a problem. But that’s rarely the case in the entertainment industry. Here are ways companies are screwing over their interns…and anyone new to the workforce.

1. Hiring Interns To Do Unpaid Labor

Companies abuse this power in many forms. The most common is setting their interns up to do infinite data entry, which provides little to no value to an eager college student. More than that, though, it causes them to become bored and disengaged (as it would most anybody,) which is exactly the opposite of what these “learning opportunities” should be doing.

Another, less common but still prevalent, abuse is using their interns for various janitorial or maintenance duties. This is more likely to occur when a business’s revenue is primarily earned through entertaining, such as a venue or a restaurant. For a personal anecdote, I interned for a venue and my daily tasks included cleaning the vents, fixing a plant hanger, scheduling Twitter posts, and removing tape from windows.

As I already had a fantastic, engaging internship, I made the decision to leave the venue internship (even though I was very interested in learning their operations. I tried several times and my inquiries were ignored.) and spend more time in a better environment.

2. Intern Requirements Go Beyond School Experience

This one is particularly frustrating, because the whole concept of an internship is to get experience. If a company’s internship requires candidates to have “a proven ability” to do anything, are an “integral part” of the company, or need knowledge of something they wouldn’t learn in school (for instance, Photoshop for a music marketing intern) it’s not an internship. It’s an unpaid job.

3. Internships Are Indefinite

It’s generally accepted that internships should be kept short – about a semester long. Three months is enough time to gain some knowledge and make connections, but more importantly, that’s the standard because internships usually provide school credits. If you’re in school, and in an internship for longer than a semester, it’s likely not worth your time. Unless you are always learning something new, keep it short. If you want more experience, find a new internship.

4. Entry-Level Jobs Have Been Lost

There once was a time when entry-level meant exactly that. Anyone with a knowledge of the industry and a little bit of experience could find a job at a company, which would then train them for the job. Now, however, entry-level requires 2-3+ years of experience, a difficult feat when coming right out of college. To get this experience, students have to know exactly what job they want when they graduate, and then find internships in that field to rack up experience. Not sure what field is best for you, so you tried a few different areas? Good luck finding a job.

For a similar take on internships, which includes a guide to finding the best one for YOU, check out this SlideShare by Julian Weisser, whom I respect very much, of Ideas Then Lemonade.

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Disclaimer: This is meant to be a critique of my generation (and my generation’s parents/teachers/mentors) as a whole. I fully believe my parents did a wonderful job of raising me and this in no way reflects their parenting style. That is all.

I was born smack dab in the middle of generation Y, which means I grew up amidst a massive shift in parenting techniques – most significantly, my generation was told we could “be anything we want,” and that we should “follow your dreams,” unlike previous generations who had to go a more traditional route or rebel.

At first glance, there is nothing wrong with our parents’ professions that we can take on the world and that all our loftiest dreams are reachable. It was great motivation, and many of us have grown up with confidence and high aspirations. There is a darker side, however. Because there was so much emphasis on boosting our self-esteem and making us feel like we’re special individuals, it’s resulted in a generation of kids who grew up and are currently being hit in the face with reality. Your parents think you’re special? Sorry, that won’t get you into OR pay for college. You want a job? Here’s an internship. It’ll help you get a job. Maybe. You want to be a musician? Okay, play these bars until you can rustle up a fan base, then you can play these tiny venues for a while, then MAYBE you can get a big enough draw for a mid-size venue. Tour? Good luck with that.

This has lead to a common, rather nasty reaction, which has gotten us the unfortunate nickname, The “Me” Generation. Said reaction comes in the form of the dreaded entitlement, and it has tainted my generation with a stereotype of being selfish, lazy, and too good for minimum wage jobs.

We grew up during the “self-esteem” movement, which means we were told that we’re all beautiful, all special, all have value, and often we weren’t given the ability to link self-esteem with accomplishments or anything of meaning other than just…being alive. Due to this shoddy foundation, there is an excess of young adults who are going into college and the real world believing that they deserve to simply be given what they want. We’re called The Me Generation for a reason.

One of the biggest issues where this crops up is that of the internship. Supposedly the gateway to a career, many college graduates have been let down when their one internship didn’t lead to a high-level position right after they walked across the stage and received their degree. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. With the majority of college students taking on one or more internships, the expected level of knowledge and experience has risen. If you want to get a high-level position, you still have to work your way up – there’s no getting around it. The only other way to start off working your dream job is to try your hand at self-employment, which may sound like a shortcut, but it can be far more stressful than working up through the ranks. Unfortunately, Generation Y often doesn’t think that way, which leads to a lot of unemployed, self-righteous grads living at home.

It may seem like I’m being harsh, but I’m not here to condemn my generation – or our parents. What I am here to say is that we all need to step back and take a look at the way we’ve been raised, knock our egos down a peg, and make sure we raise the next generation to be a balance of self-assured and hardworking.

Also, we should all boycott unpaid internships. But that’ll never happen.

I’ve switched into vacation mode. It always happens when I go back to Ohio for breaks in between semesters. BUT I’m getting back into it, finding time between relaxing and working for my parents’ sandwich shop to write to you beautiful people. The posts may be a little scattered for the next couple weeks, but there will definitely be a schedule once again when I’m back in Boston and in school.

The end of my internship was August 13th…it was bitter sweet to say the least. I learned so much this summer and am really happy to have found such a phenomenal place to work, but I was ready for a break.

A couple weeks before the end of my time there, they had their annual Digital Press Conference (which was sponsored by Reverbnation, so that’s cool). I was lucky enough to be able to interview all the artists that performed, so here’s an overview of the day!

The schedule was packed full of amazing musicians. I asked each of them to describe their music in one word – here’s what they said:

3:15 Amy Lynn & The Gunshow – Sassy-fresh
3:40 Tom Fuller Band – Brilliant
4:05 Jesse Terry – Timeless
4:30 David Bronson – Honest
4:55 Crazy Mary – Psychedelic
5:45 October Project – Romantic
6:10 Block – Complicated
6:35 Jenn Summers – Colbie collait/Jack Johnson driving down the PCH in a VW van heading to a Beach Boys concert
7:00 The Plaine Truth – Soul-Rock
7:25 Trew Music – Alternative Hip-Hop
7:50 Pete Herger – Rock & Roll

Some of them took creative liberty on the definition of “one,” but hey, they’re musicians.

I also asked the artists what methods – online or offline – bring them the most fans. The most popular answer was, in fact, live music! It makes sense to me, because I’ve found many bands that way. The second most popular was using social media sites and actually connecting with people. Tweet conversations, responding to Facebook comments, etc. Also, not surprising. It’s good to know that connection is still that important.

Being way up on the third floor, I was slightly separated from the chaos of the main floor, which was good for me, because it was pretty intense! There were 30+ people in the living room, kitchen, and back yard when I finally made my way down to the action. I staked my claim by the hummus and Stacey’s Pita chips (seriously, I could eat two bags of these), and mostly observed.

Each performer had the stage (the raised section of Ariel’s living room – awesome) for 15 minutes. In that time, the acts that I was able to see managed to get their essence across and blow everyone away. The two that stick out most were The Plaine Truth – with powerful female/male vocals – and Trew Music – with an attitude of someone doing exactly what they should be.

Trew Music!

The Plaine Truth rockin’ out

Trew also premiered his music video right after his performance. He started it with a warning that it’s not the usual music video, which I had a hard time believing, but he was right. It had a futuristic narrator that took us to different sections of the song, and the story it told. You can check it out here and let me know what you think!

The music video director himself. Trew’s entire crew were incredibly close and just seemed like great people.

The staff at Ariel Publicity ended up staying until around 10:30, which left us all exhausted the next day, but it was a great experience and I met some people I hope to meet up with whenever we manage to be in the same city! Couldn’t ask for more than that.

Oh and every aspect of the house was utilized to accommodate all the people – including the roof.

The staff of Cyber PR, ladies and gentlemen

I can definitely feel the end of my time in NYC coming up. I feel like I’m preparing, but in the wrong way. I should be pushing to do as much as possible before I leave, but I’ve started feeling like I’m already done instead. Not such a good thing with about a week left!

This week started off with some insanity and just got better from there:

Ariel Publicity had our 2012 Digital Press Conference and there were SO MANY awesome artists. Trew Music (above) was so much fun to talk to and see perform.

Helped a friend film a promotional video…on a rooftop in the upper East Side. Beautiful.

Brick + Mortar posted my review! I was pretty fucking pumped. You can read it here.

Checked out Alice’s Teacup with my friend Hannah. They have awesome “brookies” (brownie and cookie). Good way to celebrate an awesome week =]

If anyone knows of some awesome New York bands, I’m looking to get to know the scene more so let me know! I’ll totally bake you cookies (or mention you in a Tweet if you have an aversion to baked goods)

The majority of the posts on this blog are dedicated to sharing my advice from experience and from research, and to expose people to bands that I believe in that deserve to be acknowledged for their music. Today, however, I’m going to talk about my life the past couple weeks in a more personal way.

Although I love what I do, I’ve been struggling a little bit lately to keep my head above the stress of the industry, the difficulty in finding people that I can feel close to, and balancing the two without going crazy.

 

I’ve always been of the belief that I can do more, that I shouldn’t be satisfied with merely “good enough” – which is motivating, but it’s also disheartening and overwhelming sometimes.  The past two weeks have been non-stop for me, with managing a band for the first time, working 4 days a week, and writing for this blog as well as The Berklee Groove. I love everything that I do, but there have been times when I’ve thought to myself “What have I gotten into? What if it’s too much?” all while planning the next step.

 

It was especially difficult because, for nearly a year, whenever I was a little too stressed for my own good, I could turn to my significant other for support and perspective. However, things ended badly just before I came to New York and we’re no longer on speaking terms. I lost a best friend and that’s not an easy thing, especially living in a new city.

 

It’s not just affecting me, either. I haven’t been going out with friends nearly as much – and not at all during the week. It’s really been isolating and, without some serious support, makes the stress even worse. I can tell my friends are getting tired of inviting me out and always getting declined. I know it’s a learning process, but fuck if I know what I’m doing.

 

So what am I going to do about it?

 

Well, this past weekend I basically took a complete break – I didn’t work, or stress about something that needed to get done; I went out both nights and helped my friend shop for a birthday gift on Sunday. I danced and flirted and met some amazing people. It was a godsend really.

 

I’ve decided not to commit as many articles to The Berklee Groove, and luckily, because I’ve been working with the band for a couple weeks, the most time-consuming work for them is finished. Now it’s a matter of maintaining and keeping up with their current activities. I’m taking my own advice and learning to take time for myself and to have the ability to say no.

 

There’s no other industry I’d rather be in. I’m constantly amazed with where my life is headed – sometimes I just need a little perspective.

I’m halfway done already? What?? I’m already thinking about my plans for the end of the summer…and it’s kind of depressing. I wish I could just stay here, but I suppose I should probably get a degree. Being so close to graduation and all.

The good news is I got a new phone this week! Pictures are back (although I’ll definitely miss the puppies). Here are a few things I did this week:

 

Went to Googie’s Lounge to see my friend Jordan play, although I couldn’t stay the whole because of how insane my life has become…I swear I didn’t have a social life this week.

Decided to attempt to get back into running, especially because it’s such a nice area, but alas my knee started hurting almost immediately so that’s probably not going to be happening any time soon.

My awesome boss with her cat Hunter! She’s leaving for a week and he was being mopey the WHOLE day. He totally knew.

Last night I went to this awesommme rooftop party in Chelsea, with free food and drinks. I felt a wee bit under dressed…it was fancy as shit.

Went to an awesome bar called Home Sweet Home this weekend. They played music that was exclusively from the 50s and 60s, I want to go there always.

Tomorrow’s going to be a little bit of a different post. I’m going to talk about life and emotions and all the fun stuff that comes with taking on too much. Plus some single lady talk. It’s gonna be a good time.

Show Count: 1 (see? no life)

I had a week that was so full of the most jolting ups and downs, I had to resist the urge to look for Ashton Kutcher (Punk’d anyone?).

In order:

1. Started managing The Oats (awesome)
2. Confronted my venue internship supervisor (not awesome)
3. Got my purse from the MTA lost and found!! (awesome)
4. Was mugged by a ballsy 16-year-old in Brooklyn (not awesome…don’t worry, I’m fine)
5. Now work 4 days at Ariel and have a 3 day weekend (awesome)
6. Can only sleep on the weekends (not awesome)

I think my body decided to shut itself down yesterday due to some kind of PTSD. I slept 10 hours, then took a 3 hour nap

Because I now have no phone, there is a lack of pictures to document the past week…Also, I’ve been living off of bagels and peanut butter and jelly because he got my debit card. Welcome to Brooklyn.

To fill in for the lack of pictures, I was going to post a visual representation of why Pinterest is pushing women’s rights back few generations, but I decided I needed something soothing in my life instead.

Therefore, I bring you puppies:

 

 

Source: google.ca via Marla on Pinterest

Source: petapixel.com via Sara on Pinterest

Source: via Ashton on Pinterest

 
 

Source: lnkgt.com via Smile on Pinterest

You’re welcome.