Internship: do’s and dont’s

I’m officially halfway through my (incredible) internship, which means I’ve endured 44 commutes, had approximately 60 cups of tea – weekdays only included – and too many overpriced lunches to count; but most importantly I’ve gained an invaluable insight into the real world. I know I’m a lucky one getting this experience and knowledge in this early, so I thought I’d document a few lessons I’ve learnt the hard way so you don’t have to.

Do: Invest as much in your flats as your heels. Before you even step into the working world, you need to consider what’ll be on your feet when you do. I can safely say that one of the pairs of heels I invested in is more comfortable than any of the flats I own. Most days I speed-walk to the station in a tatty pair of ballet pumps that I’ve had so long they can walk on their own, or I wear brogues that are unbelievably stiff and give me blisters galore. So really, think about what you’re going to be wearing when those train doors are closing and you need to run…

Don’t: Say you’ll go to a work event and then don’t go. Inevitably you will have to confront the person you blew off, and it will be awkward. Being a student, I’ve chosen a social life over sleep most evenings, but there has come a point when I couldn’t take any more, and I have been that person. I felt awful, and spent the whole next day avoiding the person I rudely blew off. We’re adults now, and so are the people you’re working with, so we can all take a bit of rejection!

Do: Always bring a nail file. This is a general rule I should follow in all area of my life, but it’s become especially pertinent in the workplace. You’re a bit tired, doing one of the less riveting tasks and your nail varnish is already peeling, so you mindlessly chomp on your nails and have no way of saving them. It’ll play on your mind the rest of the day so always keep a nail file in your bag!

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Do: Always practise walking in your new clothes. You’d be surprised how different it is standing in front of a mirror and walking down a road in a pencil skirt, and I learned the hard way. I thought I’d hit the jackpot when I found a pink crepe pencil skirt in the Topshop sale, perfect for a more glamorous work outfit, until I left the house and it rode up into an extremely inappropriate mini skirt. Walk around, sit down, twist and turn in your new purchases first – you’ll thank me for it.

Don’t: Be polite, it’s a dog eat dog world. By that I mean of course you should be polite, there’s no way you’ll get very far if you’re not! But when there’s free fruit, cake or chocolate in the kitchen it will be gone if you don’t get up and go for it. Everyone needs a morale boost so don’t feel cheeky! You will regret not getting a piece of that cake – I do…

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