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Internship Dilemma

 
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Maeniel



Joined: 22 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 6:34 pm    Post subject: Internship Dilemma Reply with quote

Forumites! I need your sage wisdom!

I am currently debating between two internships. One is paid--we'll call that Key. The other is unpaid--we'll call that Lock. (Just in case they're searching the intarwebz for me. Razz )

So Key is supposed to get back to me by the end of this week. I know I'd be a graphic designer, and I'd be making logos, helping with the ad campaigns and branding new companies. It pays $10 an hour and they want me to work at least 20 hours a week. The bonus is that if I do a good job, I can possibly get a full-time position with the company. Since I graduate a semester early, this is superb--the market probably won't be good enough for me to get a job by then in something that I want. Also, Key is a very small company that doesn't even have a website, but the person I'm in contact with is an alum from my school; my professor seems to think she's a really good person, so I trust her and I trust the company.

Lock, on the other hand, is one of the largest nonprofit organizations in Indiana, maybe the Midwest. Here, I'll be doing much more PR, contacting other companies and writing press releases, and I'll be on the team that deals with their second-largest fundraiser, and later on their largest fundraiser. They can keep me on until I want to quit the position. The thing is, it's unpaid. But they said that they are holding the spot open for me. They don't even have my resume yet.

What should I do? I told Lock that I was waiting to hear back from another internship (paid) by the end of the week, but that I would apply immediately. I would notify them by Monday if I for-sure couldn't do it.

The thing is, whatever internship I did (which is supposed to be for credit) was supposed to be started by Monday. If I get an interview next week, I can't start working until the Monday after at the soonest. Should I go for the one that is guaranteed, or gamble a little and go for the one that will probably be worth more?

EDIT: To top it all off, a company that had previously rejected me created a new position that just so happens to include the skill set that I had used on my resume. We'll call that one Door. They're also nonprofit (one of the largest in the US) but again, the position is unpaid. They also didn't tell me they were holding a spot open for me...but it seems likely, what with the skill set and all.
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Tinalles
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Joined: 22 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If Key hasn't actually offered you the job yet, then -- don't count your chickens before they're hatched. Also, $10 an hour for designing logos? Dang, they're cheap. Doing logos is HARD.

None of them is likely to be your One True Job that will last for an entire career. So pick one based on two criteria: how much you think you'll like doing the work, and how well the job experience will position you for future jobs.
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Tyris



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 2:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hate to break it to you, but... you fair crippled your chances with Lock by telling them you were waiting on Key. Human Resources departments see that kind of thing as treachery and disloyalty (which is insane, conidering you're not working for them yet and thus have nothing to be loyal to, but there you go).

When next you find yourself in this situation (and you will, before the end of the year), don't tell the companies about each other - just string them both along until one makes you a written offer.
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Asa



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also consider the amount of work you'll be doing and how much recognition you'll get, either in money, job security, or simple thanks. *shrug* Paid is nice, but if this isn't meant to be the job that supports you, it might not be as major a consideration. Pick the company you like the best. If the job is fantastic but the people are awful, you won't enjoy it. If the job is eh, but the people are fun and nice, you'll get a whole lot more out of the experience.
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Maeniel



Joined: 22 Mar 2008
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Location: Next to Waldo

PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2010 8:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tyris wrote:
Hate to break it to you, but... you fair crippled your chances with Lock by telling them you were waiting on Key. Human Resources departments see that kind of thing as treachery and disloyalty (which is insane, conidering you're not working for them yet and thus have nothing to be loyal to, but there you go).


Mmm.... I would disagree. I think it's pretty courteous of me, and reflects well on my honesty. Which are both desirable traits in the communications field. Smile Besides, I don't see myself as gambling with Lock any more--it's basically guaranteed unless I screw them over royally or don't get back to them in time.

Tin: Yeah, you're right. I think I'm going to tell Key upfront that they are my first choice, but that I have another offer on the table. If they can't offer me a position before Lock needs to start looking for other people, I'll just go with Lock. As far as $10 for logos go, I think it's pretty swell--most internships like this don't pay you anything, and if they do it's below minimum wage.

Asa: My hours at my current job will need to be scaled back considerably if I'm picking up an internship. I'm basically responsible for all of my education and living expenses (except food), so money is a big factor for me. And I think I'll like both places; a friend of mine worked at Lock and absolutely adored it, and the girl I'm in contact with is a friend of Paul, my ex, who thinks she's a nice girl. (Paul is the one that got my other ex an internship at his own pharmacy, and we're on pretty good terms--so that's not a factor. Smile )
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Squeeself



Joined: 23 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2010 4:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's the thing about internships: don't EVER worry about the pay,e ven if you have to start borrowing some money. The experience gained and the resume padding you will get are FAR more valuable long-term (and will generate a higher salary when you finally do get a job). As Squee's professor has said (admittedly about animation, but the same will hold true for most areas): "Make whatever sacrifices you can to get the best internship opportunities and experience, regardless of immediate benefit." In other words, given that you have a choice, pick the one that will give you the most experience doing what you want to do. Or even, doing something that you're interested in, but not sure if you really want to be doing (better to find out on internship than in your actual career).

So, given that, it sounds like you've got a lot of positive recommendations for the non-profit. People you know with positive experiences. Plus, it's a bigger, more high-profile company than the one that looks more like a startup. And internshiping for a startup isn't usually the best idea. The idea is to experience how things are done out in the real world, and a startup is usually struggling to find itself. While working a normal job at a startup is great, an intern should usually head for greener pastures of older companies. Think of it this way: how are your chances of going to the already established, larger companies if you start with a smaller company, vs. starting with the larger and moving to the smaller. It gives you way more opportunities. Smile
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Maeniel



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So KeyArt Publishing (Key internship) decided that they didn't quite know what they wanted out of their intern, so they were putting the position on hold for another month or so, at which point it will probably become a freelance job. I didn't find this out until after I had already contacted them (which was after they told me they would be touching base with me). I may take the job as a freelance (because they said they'd contact me if I was still the best fit for the position) but I think I'm better off avoiding them for now.

The Damien Center's interview (Lock's internship) I just got out of, and I'm very hopeful. There was only one other person applying for the position, but the director told me that she would likely split the internship up because it was a huge responsibility. The other girl was a social work major, so she'd likely deal with the volunteers (something I have little interest in doing) and I'd deal with marketing and promotion. Crossing my fingers!
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Asa



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good luck!
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