What I remember about trick-or-treating is the etiquette, or lack-thereof. I can see it so vividly, my neighbors who would leave a giant bowl of candy outside on the stoop, with that little hand-scrawled sign: “One each!” That bowl was almost always empty. It’s dawned on me that I’m a grown up version of my trick-or-treating self, the kid who only took one piece even when no one was looking. I still can’t imagine what my mother would say if I hadn’t. As this pertains to my career, I’ve realized that those grubby-handed children who used to be my neighbors presumably are all grown up too… And out on the job hunt.
From Halloween and Easter egg-hunts, to 23rd birthdays and job hunts – all us kids alike want a piece. Fact: the industry is shrinking and there are more and more houses with their lights off, no one home, and an empty bowl taunting “something good was once here but you’re too late and now it’s gone!” Okay, maybe the bowl isn’t totally empty, but I’m getting a bit freaked out. It’s been encouraging to intern this semester at a shockingly healthy company, but I’ve learned to add other goals to my internship experiences than simply landing a full-time job.
Even for the basic entry-level positions there are files and files of resumes already in archive. I always thought that being a decent human being with initiative would keep me in good graces, and that business ethics would put me at the forefront of the outflow of college graduates entering Job Hunt 2011.
I’ve seen plenty of good people get fired this quarter. The fact of the matter is there just are a limited number of opportunities out there, and it’s first come, first serve. I’ve been interning in NYC since January of this year, and even the non-paying gigs are competitive. I’m not saying that everyone is immoral, but it is a “grab two (just in case)” kind of atmosphere.
On a macro-level, I’m hoping that I don’t go flying off the corporate conveyor belt. Micro-speaking, I literally just learned that different internships are actually different. As a gig-to-gig intern, the only thing that’s been constant is me, along with my rights and responsibilities as a student-intern. Hel-lo Berklee internship learning contract!
As an intern, it’s important to delineate real goals. Otherwise you don’t know if you haven’t accomplished them. This semester, I have learned that periods of down-time are difficult for me. This is something I could have easily communicated and negotiated in my learning contract. What is my solution? Well, I’m spending some real time with my goals (before I get there), and putting them into the universe in a tangible and pragmatic way.
I’m a writer, so I’ve started penning what I call my What I Want List. I jot down, in order, the things that I want to accomplish. It sounds a rudimentary, but it’s been vital to me this semester. I chose to spend my summer as an intern, while a lot of my friends are on tour, or vacation. Does that make me a harder worker? Nope. But it does mean I’m working. Well, interning. It also necessitates me being inside all day, and away from my instruments.
Understanding consequences, getting past expectations and respective disappointments is a real part of growing up. But I had to analyze my expectations to understand how to move forward. I like to be 10,000% involved. I’ve learned to deal with periods of downtime at my internship by setting obvious checkpoints for myself. My solution is to add extra courses which teach me about Advertising and Licensing. And it’s taken me weeks of journaling and reflection to get to this place. I’ve taken my goals, seen the holes, and have now begun the process of filling them in myself. Back home, it’s all mind your manners, wait your turn. And I don’t know if I could ever take two pieces of candy. That’s just the person I’ve been created to be. But heaven knows, I’m hungry for it.
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Sara Rachele, former vocalist and keyboardist for The Love Willows (Decca), has been studying at Berklee since mid 2009. A songwriting and music business major, Sara currently interns at The Orchard, an independent music and video distributor in NYC . She is currently living in the East Village with her dog Hank Williams.