I feel a bit of a fraud writing a Progress Report when I’ve only been a Hack for just over a week. I can, however, distinctly remember discovering Wannabe Hacks after they started following me on Twitter four months ago. I was sat on this very sofa, in my parents’ house, with the TV on….and technically nothing much has changed.
Except now I’m one of them, I’ve spent three months in New York and I’ve attended my second and third interviews of the week so far.
Back in August I was finishing a summer of retail employment to fund an internship (and a cocktail and clothing habit) in New York. Arugably, my blog was kept far more updated than it is now – it’s currently having a redesign, as well as a new domain name, so please treat it gently – but I was waiting for things to happen. Happen they did. As my first guest post on Hacks shows, interning at Nylon is a far cry from coffee runs and photocopying. Two weeks in I had sat opposite Kanye and Kelly Osbourne on the front row of Fashion Week and was embroiled in a intern-only print project on New York for the next issue. Things did not slow down. Freelance work came in the form of reporting on the Festival That Never Sleeps, CMJ and subsequent music-related pitching experience.
Aware that ‘Fall’ was swiftly turning into fell and the real world – i.e, moving back in with Mum and Dad, taking up some more retail shifts and potentially never leaving Buckinghamshire – I started applying for UK jobs (applying for a Green Card will happen in due course) during breaks at Nylon, including the new Hacks vacancy and gearing myself up for a new journalistic chapter in London. And here I am, on my parents’ sofa…
What have I learnt? Aside from which subways to use around the Lower East Side, I feel my skills in research, deadline-meeting and interviewing have massively improved. Despite having the best part of my degree inside the student newspaper office (truly, some of the best parts), I’ve never had to meet tighter deadlines. Or research within them. When a research opportunity arises in almost every conversation – know what the Colbert Reportis? You know more than I did – you tend to learn much faster than you thought you could.
Regarding interviews, never turn down a transcription. Even if you don’t hear about the fascinating ins and outs of celebrity daily life, following a cover story from transcript through fact checking to print is the best lesson you can get in how to turn even the most sullen of subjects into a readable copy.
Otherwise, I’ve got totally hooked to Twitter – whether I’m joining the twittersphere about the likes of #apprentice or parroting my parents’ comments on Zoo Magazine.
Now I’m learning again, indeed, as we all are. Being thrown into Hacks has been daunting; these kids know their stuff and it’s far more work than it looks.But it’s great to be involved and now I can enter interviews and talk about SEO and CMS, something that would have been impossible six months ago. Job seeking and being interviewed is something nobody, careers service or otherwise, will ever teach you enough about. However, it’s not the big bleak world of no opportunity out there – interviews are happening, jobs are being posted and optimism is not yet dead.
The retail job may live on a while yet. But if the next sixth months are anything like these? Well, to quote an over-used Americanism: ‘I’m down’.
If you have any questions or queries about The Maverick’s experiences so far or how she got any of his internships/opportunities , then put it in the comments or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will be happy to get back to you with an answer.