When entering the Fashion world, being utterly exhausted to the point of abuse remains a risk. I recently became involved with an internship that lead me through an endless race amongst the NYC transit system and a battle against my spirit. While it’s understood that resume gold doesn’t strike easily, how do you know when you’ve gone too far?
With a stellar resume and cover letter pairing, LinkedIn and persistance, the world is your canvas. Painting not only a picture of the sort of individual that you are, but what you have to offer to an already thriving company is crucial to remaining on the radar of professionals within your chosen career path.
Recently, I’ve decided to expand my horizons outside of my college campus’ borders. One leap of faith and an email returned later, I landed something close to the internship of my dreams. I would eventually learn that it was perhaps not to my benefit, instead for the misuse of the stylist who had hired me…We’ll call her Katrina.
Unfortunately, although I delivered to the maximum, nothing would be enough for Katrina. I could have made it snow in the middle of June and she would have scoffed at me for not already knitting her a sweater with the hair on my head. It sounds absurd, because it absolutely was. For the day, I was literally Andy from The Devil Wears Prada, minus a paycheck.
The contact I had with Katrina was kept to a bare minimum, AKA only when I appeared with ridiculously colossal garment bags to her absent boss’ air conditioned apartment (WHICH was filled with a mess of her own personal belongings, toys thrown sporadically, and her two toddlers? Talk about unprofessional).
9 hours later, upon completing my final task, I was not proud. The chores I’d completed didn’t make me better or smarter than when I began, even if I had went above and beyond circumstances.
With a final door slamming in my face and a barely-there thank you, it took every ounce of self control for me to not pound on the door and demand reimbursement and an apology for the time plus money I’d wasted. I still wish I had, but instead I reminded myself that Karma never skips an appointment.
Although I am quite obviously a writer and not a delivery girl, I came into this short-term internship with an open mind and heart, only to get stomped on entirely. I was disheartened by the end of it all and left with a sour taste in my mouth. I wonder if I should have read a little bit closer to the warning signs. Were the late night emails an indication of a lack of respect? Were the extensive smiley faces a Halloween mask for the hell that awaited me?
Fashion internships come in all different shapes and sizes. I’ve had amazing experiences with the right people and companies, thankfully being the backbone that held me together on this day. Please do not be discouraged if it is your goal to work in the field. I only hope that my experience will serve as a cautionary tale for if your internship does happen to also travel south.
For the brave spirits who triumphantly accept these unpaid and not-at-all-glamorous jobs, keep your eyes and ears open. Good luck!