“Now what shall I do? Where’s my desk?”

My entirely voluntary internship was at an Edinburgh based magazine. They use interns to permanently fill the role of editorial assistant. Though I got to do a lot (not filing!), I was badly looked after. The woman I’d organised the placement with ignored me on the first day and just gave me piles to hole punch or similar, without any introductory chat. I brought them to her and said: “now what shall I do? Where’s my desk?”

She indicated one and said off you go. But doing what?

Then at last the editor came back from his meeting and showed me what to do and told me about the magazine.

But he omitted a lot, and everyone got very stressed – so I felt I couldn’t ask. I was meant to source pictures but I wasn’t shown properly what to do, so I couldn’t find them.

A colleague was shocked that I hadn’t been told, though he said it wasn’t part of his contract to show me!

I was also given a project but I’m not sure this was ever looked at. I kept saying how I was interested in using my Quark desk top publishing training, but got to do little of that and was expected to source pictures and interview people about trainers!

On my last day, most staff left without saying goodbye, let alone thank you. My hours were 9-5.30, but I was still finishing stuff I’d been given at 7 – and then they asked me to do something else! By which time, the office was deserted for the weekend by all but the editors. I said I needed to go, feeling that they’d already had quite enough from me.

I had to email and ask to be sent the magazine I’d contributed to, and only then did I get a thank you… but no further opportunities came of this piece of slave labour, that I’d worked hard to secure!

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2 Responses to ““Now what shall I do? Where’s my desk?””


  1. 1 Mark Watson 08/25/2009 at 4:24 pm

    Can I just ask – when you say your internship was “entirely voluntary” do you mean by that that it was unpaid? Or do you mean that it was voluntary in the sense that you were a true volunteer, entorely that free to come and go as you please and do whatever work you chose to do.

    I only ask because, depending on your answer would depend on whether you should have got paid at least the legal minimum or not! I’d be interested to know.


  1. 1 The dignity of interning « Interns Anonymous Trackback on 04/27/2011 at 11:09 am

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