Hi there. My name is Mary Beth, and this is my internship-abroad blog. Here you will find details of my adventures in London, with a particular focus on the unique professional aspect of my trip.
I arrived in London about two weeks ago and had my interview at the first available opportunity. Due to a train-strike and my on-site internship supervisor becoming ill, I only recently began my internship this week. So while the rest of the flat is already becoming bored with the humdrum of the day-to-day London work environment, I’m raring to go.
Did I mention I’m interning at a small publishing company? It focuses on publishing a wide variety of books, mostly fiction, that are in some way markedly different from the majority of fiction out there. In fact, the publishing company is so small that it literally consists of my boss, myself, and a small handful of people my boss complains about. I get the general impression that my boss is the only person in the company (besides myself, obviously) that is solely devoted to the publishing business. The ‘slackers’ seem to be involved in other business areas that also have residence within the building–including a cruise-line’s preparatory dance class.
It’s Wednesday now, but the first day of my internship was Monday. On Monday I was given a variety of tasks that involved very basic PR–for instance, copying and pasting various pull-quotes, author bios, and blog reviews into a single, haphazard document. Easy enough, right? Well, my boss wanted to take it slow. Open Microsoft Word. You there? Scroll down. Find the quote by John Smith on this document I’m handing you across the desk. It’s highlighted. You see it? Copy this quote under Jane Doe’s bio, etc. etc.
I didn’t mind this approach, per say, but throughout the day I kept expecting my boss to give me the reigns. I was there to help him, not be some awkward middle-woman he had to go through to finish what he needed to do. However, it soon became apparent that he might not have a control issue–after all, he seemed to be a very laid-back man–but a seeing issue. In those brief instances where I was trusted to work by my lonesome, I’d see him squinting over at his desk with his face quite literally an inch from the computer screen. So that was it. I was his eyes. But what did that mean for the future of my internship?
Thankfully, today I was trusted with a slightly larger and more independent task. Using the haphazard document I had completed Monday, I reformatted a PR document intended to be distributed electronically to potential book buyers and reviewers. After some small adjustments, my boss sent it off to a publishing agent he works with. We were both pleased to discover that she thought it was exactly what she needed.
Nevertheless, I felt almost guilty while I was creating the document on my own because my boss’s face remained glued to his computer screen all day. It was almost as if I was failing to be his eyes, so to speak. However, I began to understand that the man was able to complete work regardless of his visual impairment, and that despite not being able to see half of what was on the computer screen, knew a great deal about computers (particularly if they involved his job). In fact, through our conversations, I feel I am already learning a lot from my boss, and so I don’t mind being his eyes now and again (if that’s really what I was doing Monday).
My next working day is this coming Monday because I only work in the office two days a week. The rest of my internship hours consists of reading the books we are preparing to publish on my own time (perhaps in lovely local libraries I’m hoping to find). Stay tuned for another blog coming in the next couple of days concerning the current book I’m reading for the internship.