Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Dance Monkey (Intern), Dance.

So being a journalism graduate, who is more than aware of the hoops a determined one has to jump, somersault and backflip through to get where they wanna get, it was rather amusing/scaring to read ex-Editor of Girlfriend magazine, Mia Freedman's response to an article about her and a banana?

After reading the article this is her reponse; via her blog Mamamia.

"...One of these rumours – are you sitting down? – was that “Mia Freedman once sent a work experience person out to buy her son a banana.” A banana. A BANANA.

Here’s a brief snapshot of what went through my head after reading that sentence.

1. Did I do that? Possibly. But more likely banana was for self. Son not partial to bananas.
2. Even if true about son, banana is fruit. Good Mother Points in that.
3. At least no mention of the time I sent Art Director to buy my son McDonalds. That definitely happened. Look, she was going there anyway.
4. Why is shocking banana allegation not on page 1 where it belongs? 2020 Summit? Pah!

As my friends and family woke up and opened their own newspapers, my phone began to beep. “At least it wasn’t a Mars Bar!” texted my mum. “Selfish cow,” texted an editor friend. “Why didn’t you let work experience girl choose the cover and then take her out to dinner?”

I started my own career doing work experience when I was 19 and my first boss was the wonderful Lisa Wilkinson.
Back then (in my day etc), I was grateful for the chance to get her coffee or her mail. I would have gladly washed Lisa’s car – or her feet – had I been asked. Heck, I would have blow-dried her dog (I do know an editor who was asked to do this when she herself did work experience at a magazine). During this time, I believe I was also regularly sent to fetch assorted muffins and sandwiches for staff. And one time? A peach. I know. But it’s true.

...Over the years, I began to notice a change in attitude from some (not all) of the work experience students. Gratitude was being replaced with a sense of entitlement and absurd expectations.

I’m guessing that Banana Girl was one of those; a sixteen year old who rocked up for her week expecting to interview Jessica Alba and attend fashion shows. That’s the kind of experience she was after, thanks. And she wasn’t the only one.

...It got to the point where, before they came, we had to inform them in writing that “you will be required to do administrative tasks and whatever else is required”.

Some decided this wasn’t, like, acceptable and never showed up. Others showed up and then sulked. Or disappeared mid-week.

Of course, many work experience students are wonderful young women (and occasionally, young men, bless their brave souls). A 26 year old features editor puts it like this: “It would be 50/50 split: the little creatures who slump and sigh at being asked to get the mail, and those who have already gone down and got it before you can ask. Guess who gets the internships...”
Back in my day there were no internships. They should be grateful…. "

My response: Yes and no.

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I am more than prone to monologues; however, this is solely due to the manner in which they compliment a witty anecdote and their ability to resemble concrete evidence when it is so obviously lacking. I often wish I could emulate that aloof character who coolly stands in the corner smiling mysteriously as if she has a secret. However, I fear resisting the temptation to involve myself in other people’s conflicts and responding through body language rather than verbose banter may come across as contrived and arrogant. And, I am not willing to take that chance.

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