After my college graduation, I began my three month internship at a high profile media company. My job description was very general. The main tasks included going through the newspapers every morning and composing folders of all newspaper clippings related to the company and delivering them to the heads of each department. I also wrote numerous press releases for upcoming shows and series, but I often found myself jumping in for other people when and where needed. Sometimes this meant updating the press website, uploading pictures and rewriting press releases. At other times I updated the contact lists or made photocopies and ran various small errands.
The majority of the employees are in their twenties or early thirties and the atmosphere in the company is very laid-back and relaxed. Every Friday they throw themselves mini-receptions on the work floor. Everyone pitches in and two or three employees go out to get the booze and snacks. Around 5 pm everyone stops working and it’s time to start socialising! Work is sometimes discussed, but the majority of the time the conversations are about their personal lives and an absolute favourite is of course, ‘who’s doing who, where, when and how’.
The company lacked any form of hierarchy. Everyone knows who the big boss is, but no one seems intimidated by him or any of the heads of the various departments. Jokingly insulting each other happens on a daily basis and I even witnessed the head of the department and one of the VJ’s re-enacting a scene from “Celebrity Death match”. The throwing of things (including full beer cans) across the room and into ventilators is considered extremely funny. Being in the middle of a scene like that, is like finding yourself in the middle of a ‘’Jackass’’ episode. The jokes told most often by the male colleagues, were always extremely vulgar to the point where they were sickening. One of the compny’s VJs, particularly enjoyed pulling down his pants and flashing everyone around him.
The contact between the colleagues of the Press office was anything but good. For a communications department, there was very little direct communication. Despite sitting right next to each other, all communication was done through email and issues or questions were never presented straight up. Despite the internal rivalries and horrific backstabbing scenes in the Communications department, there were also some great experiences.
I was able to attend the Kids Choice Awards and the TMF Game Awards, as a backstage crew member. These were amazing experiences and allowed me to see how such huge events are run from behind the scenes, backstage and inside the press rooms. Also very exciting, was when a Belgian rock-band came to play in our cafeteria and everyone was let off early to attend this private mini-concert. This was not the only time celebrities came to the office. Pop and rock stars were constantly walking in and out of the studio and it was not uncommon to find oneself face to face with the artist of the week.
Another great thing about working for the company is all the free goodies you get to take home, from simple key chains and stickers, to hats, t-shirts and bags, just to name a few. They were also incredible at organizing parties and everyone who’s anyone wants to be seen at these events. As an employee, you are of course also invited to these parties as a V.I.P. The amount of financial and time investment that goes into these events is simply amazing.
Looking back, my three month internship, allowed me to experience both the positive and negative aspects of working in this industry. I met new people, I experienced new things, I had to learn to deal with new situations, but most of all I believe it was a valuable experience, in that it gave me a chance to learn a lot about myself and what is that I am looking for in a future job.