INTERN ADVICE: The Biggest Mistake I Made (And It’s Not What You May Think)
Nearly ten years ago, I embarked on my first internship in media.
A major national news network, I truly felt like I was living the dream.
(And I WAS!)
During internships, you’re bound to make mistakes as you’re constantly learning new things on the fly.
But never did I think I would make a mistake like this, that I still think about to this day.
And it’s probably not what you’d expect it to be.
It wasn’t me messing up on a technical thing (which happened, not all the time, but happened).
It wasn’t me messing up on transcribing a script (which didn’t happen as I actually would write way too much when I transcribed interviews!).
In this major news network, there was the ‘tape room,’ ‘dub room’ of sorts. If there was a file video that I couldn’t pull digitally or a digital file I needed to put onto a tape for the producers, I would have to go into this room and make dub tapes.
I would always run into the same producers in this room. One guy for instance, who I’m still friends with on Facebook to this day, is doing amazingly awesome, and actually married a girl who worked at the same news network, for a different show. (I love their love story).
I was friendly with all of them, and one guy in particular I would always see down at the subway when I would head home to grandma’s house in Brooklyn after work.
He would always say hello, it was a cordial, professional colleague I had built up.
But this one moment in time changed and ruined it forever.
One day while watching TV at home, I saw this commercial. To think back, I don’t remember this commercial at all, but I remember really, really thinking the guy in the said commercial looked like the guy in the dub room.
I remember back then toying over whether or not I should say something to him about this. Whether or not he would appreciate me saying this or not.
Well, me being friendly and thinking we were dub room buddies, and thinking it would go positively, I said to him that he looked like the guy in the commercial.
Boy, did he get MAD.
He started yelling at me, saying how offended he was that I would say such a thing.
That day, I didn’t know what to do… I profusely apologized… But it was too late.
I ended up running to the bathroom and crying hysterically.
I came out of the bathroom that day and tried to hide my tears…. Thankfully no one noticed.
But I was devastated.
I felt like a failure.
Like I had ruined a connection I could’ve had to this day.
Which, unfortunately, I did ruin that connection.
The rest of my time at said internship, this guy never acted the same to me and would speak to me in a near-angry tone. I tried to brush it off, but hey. I really care about people.
I still think about this moment to this day.
I’m still so sorry this happened.
But I write my little story here as a lesson to anyone looking to intern in media: these people are not your friends. They are your colleagues, and bosses, and possibly people that can help you in the future.
BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU SAY, and be careful how you treat your connections during and after an internship.
It’s a-ok to make mistakes on the job, but if you affect someone personally, it’s a whole ‘nother level. These connections are gems that if you play your cards right, can last forever.
NOTE: By sharing the mistake I made with you all, it doesn’t make me a ‘bad’ intern. I was a great intern and had four incredible internships in media. This post is meant to be as a lesson for future and current interns out there in media.