Unemployed? No, I’m an intern

As we all know, times are tough at the moment. It’s never fun talking about unemployment figures, tax and benefit reforms, the likelihood of a double-dip recession and all other doomsday-esque factoids about our modern society; but I guess most, if not all, of these things are harsh realities which affect a large portion of the population. These are things that are hard to escape and, seemingly, are only going to get worse in the few years to come.

A news headline which has been haunting me for the past two months is that employment for 18-25 year olds has plummeted to an all-time low and that the UK is experiencing the highest unemployment rate in 17 years. So according to the BBC, one in five of us “youngsters” are neither in education nor working nor training. That actually scares the shit out of me. I try to ignore it and tell myself that if I believe it, it’ll become a self-fulfilling prophecy whereby I get lazy and just blame my redundancy on David Cameron and all those damned Tories, and end up having heated political conversations with my parents.

I say fuck it. There MUST be something out there. I, my friends, have not lost hope quite yet. I have nearly finished my Masters, and for nearly a year now I’ve been interning here, there and everywhere, from magazines to PR to sales. This isn’t me writing this to say, “Hey guys, look how awesome I am! I’m an intern and I try really hard, wooo!” Nope. Because, first of all, anyone who’s done placements before knows how belittling it can be; and secondly, placements are a euphemism for free labour, so there’s nothing to brag about here really. I just refuse to render myself useless because I still need to feel that this whole “Life” thing is going somewhere. I’ve been called naïve or been told, “Good for you, sport!” with a little wince and a pity pat on the back, as if what they truly wanted to say was, “Good luck, kid. But grown up life actually sucks.” Well, maybe, but I like to think that if I want something badly enough and work myself down to the bone then I’ll eventually get somewhere. And if I want it that badly it's only because I love to do it. I like to think that I have it in the locker, as my friend likes to put it.

I haven’t got a concrete offer from any of the places I’ve interned for. I’m pretty sure I’ve harassed secretaries and bombarded editors with my CV a few hundred times. But I’ll wait. And in the meantime, I’ll continue getting coffees and deliveries; running like a madwoman around the office trying to find that very specific shirt in a stockroom stacked full of unlabelled containers that has to be sent to Vogue ASAP; or transcribing that four-hour long interview in three hours, all the while trying to make myself be heard, known and liked in the hope that they’ll turn around and say, “Hey, you. Yeah, the one carrying three boxes and three times your body weight. We’re keeping you on. Here’s your desk and your contract. See you Monday.”

Written by: Nicole McLennan

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