So I’ve had a little over a week to reflect on the first day of my publishing house internship, and I think there are just a few key things that I can improve on this week.
1. Paranoid about Being Late
Having forgotten my phone last Wednesday, the only way I could tell time was by using my laptop, which is large and cumbersome and could only be kept on in the Starbucks I had camped out in for the majority of the morning. Paranoid about being late, I estimated that the six minute walk to the office would take twenty minutes, that a two minute bathroom break would consume ten minutes, and that my laptop would take an entire five minutes to shut down. So, like a good intern wanting to arrive early, I left Starbucks at 9:20am. I didn’t need to be there until ten.
My laptop took two minutes to “hibernate” and my powder room trip took, at most, sixty seconds. I then spent three minutes fixing my hair to look exactly the way it did when I entered the restroom, and two attempting to mentally speed up time to fulfill those twelve extra minutes I now had. I didn’t want to turn my laptop back on, so I began to make my way toward the office at an atypically sluggish pace.
The walk did not take the nineteen minutes I’d hoped it would.Today, I will not be so exceptionally early.
2. Exclamation Points are Unprofessional
I’ve always felt that exclamation points are a tad unprofessional. I abstain from using them in any sort of professional environment (for the most part). And perhaps it’s because I grew up in the texting-era, but conversations in text, without exclamation points, smiley faces, or ha-ha’s, automatically appear angry or bored to me.
In the office we use the instant messaging feature on Skype to communicate quietly, allowing those workers evaluating, editing and designing manuscripts to focus. It’ll take some getting used to for two reasons. The first: I feel like I can hear the publisher typing out his response in the other room and I feel silly for not just walking to the back of the house and talking with him. The second: I have to figure out the amount of animation I can let slip into my questions and responses.
3. Push Down the Hunger
I spent that first day smelling my peanut butter sandwich, considering my peanut butter sandwich, and imagining myself eating my peanut butter sandwich. But I never actually ate my peanut butter sandwich.
Oh sure, I had an hour long lunch break at my disposal, but I couldn’t take it. Why not? I didn't want to leave without letting the publisher know, but I also didn’t want to give him a play-by-play of my every move if I didn’t need to. I didn’t want it sounding like I needed my hand held, like I needed his approval to eat. Did I?Despite these minor mistakes, my first day went well. I got to spend the entire day reading and call it work (Can you say dream job?). The publisher was impressed with my evaluation, and due to that, entrusted me with a lengthy memoir to evaluate on my second day. Although it seemed a little less like a reward about halfway through... STILL, I learned something from that potential author. And I love that!
Every manuscript I start reading through is like the first stab of a shovel into the ground. I could find a treasure underneath! Yeah, there’s gonna be some flaws. It’s been in underground for months—if not years! It may have some dirt or mud distorting it on the surface, but I get the privilege of determining whether it’s going to shine once all that’s cleaned off.
And every book that comes in has that potential! It's sort of similar to assuming that every new person you meet could be your best friend—no matter what they look like, talk like, or where they come from. Wouldn't that be beautiful?
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