Starting out as an intern was never my first choice. However, it was very difficult for me to land a job and so I had to look at alternatives.
As i was researching on how some of my favorite media personalities made it in the industry I came across stories of people who chose to become interns for years without payment just to earn the experience needed to get the jobs. The likes of Njoki Chege and Mohammed Ali were unpaid interns for two years before they finally got jobs.
So i started applying for internship positions and it wasn’t long before I was offered a spot at one of the Media Houses. This was the beginning of my woes.
Since my work entailed news writing and reporting, I was assigned all the donkey work. I was new and prone to mistakes because that is normal and I had never worked in such an environment before.
The senior staff never stopped reminding me of how “lucky” I was being offered a chance for an internship yet there are many others seeking the golden opportunity.
“Unacheza na kazi na watu wengine wanatafuta hii chance na hawapati,(you are joking around with work yet others seek it) was the response whenever I made a small error.
I was assigned stories they deemed less important, stories such as a group of women forming a chama to help the community or the like.
Being a reporter, searching for news was one of my roles. I would report to the office at 6.30 only to find some “senior reporter” as she liked to call herself sipping a cup of tea.
“Here is the recorder go look for news that is credible,” she would mumble.
And if I manage to come back with a very good story, she would take all the credit. Nothing I wrote ever ran with my name. Which means that to this day I cannot use them in my portfolio because there is no proof I wrote them.
Even with all that harassment and intimidation, I was able to learn several valuable lessons from that internship.
The First being I got a lot of exposure which enabled me to succeed at my next job. I would wake up each day with my recorder and come up with a story the audience would love. This boosted my creativity which I apply up to now in my current job.
Secondly, I became very hardworking because of the long hours which is a common occurrence in the media industry as such while my colleagues complain of having to stay late or come in early, I am used to it and don’t see it as a big deal.
Third, the constant pressure and harassment gave me an important virtue in life which is patience and perseverance. Which means I can work with people with different personalities and not let how they treat me affect my work.
Lastly, it opened many opportunities for me because I was able to gain skills and experience that enabled me to get a well paying job.
All in all I don’t regret taking the internship and would encourage anyone to do the same. The suffering was only for a brief moment and it helped me get to where I am today.
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