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  • Writer's pictureManish Nepal

Interns are slave labor, but it's worth the grind

I read this joke in a sub-reddit recently:

Q: What are some of the best social media schedulers out there?
Commenter 1: A good intern is better than any software.
Commenter 2: And completely free!

I apologize for passing this sarcasm as a blatant joke, but this is a true scenario that deserves our attention.

I began my career as an intern in a newspaper company. I was dreamy-eyed about it and I expected other people to teach me the tricks of the trade. I hoped to be like one of them by the time my internship was over.

But reality was different. I was as neglected as a piece of furniture in the editorial desk I was assigned to. After a few weeks of being a wallflower, I stepped up my tactics.

I forced myself to talk to the seniors I was initially scared to talk to. I asked them questions I thought were too dumb to ask. I stayed back till midnight to help my seniors find filler news and rewrite last-minute wire copies.

And soon enough, I was deputized as the “young gun” in the team.

My seniors started acting like big brothers, and invited me for lunch and afternoon tea/coffee. I was officially a member of their five-people tribe. And I worked hard to prove my mettle.

Just a few days before my three-month internship came to an end, my manager took me upstairs to the open-air terrace of our office during his smoke break. It almost felt like a proposal when he asked:

“Would you like to join us full-time?”

I ended up working in The Kathmandu Post for two years before I jumped to the next adventure in my life.

The point of this self-praised ramble is—interns are on their own.

Everyone looks down at them as a free/cheap resource, until they prove otherwise.

If you're interning, it’s up to you to act like professionals from day one and create value that takes them from being a dispensable resource to irreplaceable/invaluable asset.

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