Saturday, November 21, 2009

Thank you very much! Good bye.

Soooooooooooooooo, we're getting into annual appeal time in NGO country. Which means it's letter time. I've moved from stamping bags with a rubber stamp to putting postage stamps on 2,300 envelopes. That took up the majority of my time yesterday. Monday and Wednesday will be all about stuffing said envelopes. Yes, the day before Thanksgiving, I shall be in the office all day stuffing envelopes. Remember, sometimes job descriptions are a smidge misleading.

But as the semester is winding down, I reflect back on what I've learned from my time at an NGO.
1. No job is too small for an intern.
2. No job is too big for an intern.
3. Phones aren't a scary as previously thought.
4. Mistakes are embarrassing, but whatever! Everyone makes them. You live, you learn.
5. The work behind cool development projects is not always exciting, but definitely worthwhile.
6. I might be missing my calling as a travel agent.
7. Be efficient, be courteous, be prompt, be personable and stick to your guns (except when you're wrong. Then get over yourself and admit it graciously.)

These are my profound thoughts. Interpret them as you will.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Please Call Me Back

So, DC, how's the internship search coming? Mine is frustrated at this point. My stipulation of wanting compensation for labor seems to be a sticking point in my search. A lot of employers don't seem to think we college students need to eat, so they don't pay.

The worst is when you find the ultimate internship-paid, looks interesting, could help develop new skills, and you send off the resume with such high hopes...and never hear back. Not cool. Not cool at all. I feel like the girl waiting by the phone, waiting for the guy she likes to call her back. And he never does. Ever.

And so I persevere, struggling against the oppressive weight of the un-paid tradition that has insidiously taken over DC. I AM INTERN (who is soon to be unemployed-real-person come graduation time), therefore I am poor. Let's fix that, DC, 'k? 'K.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Please don't stop the music!

It was a quiet week at the office. One boss was out of the country and the other is back trying to play catch-up from her three weeks abroad. As a result, there was not much exciting happening. The boxes are all taken care of and now I'm doing research about other NGOs in our field, what they're doing, how they're being funded etc. This has also doubled as job/internship searching time, which as thus far been unsuccessful. Why, oh why, NGOs do you not pay your poor interns?

On another note, the brown paper bag stamping/groove time has been successful, though for significantly shorter periods of time than I would wish. Once the boss comes in, I have to turn off my happy music, and bag stamping gets a lot less fun.

I know other people's internship blogs are full of tales of important projects and cool conferences. Bully for them. I give the other side of the story, about the mundane grunt work of interning in a small office. But bag stamping has larger implications than me feeling like I'm frittering away my pursuit of higher education. It means a woman in a developing country will be able to have her product put into a nicely presented bag, giving it more respect than just shoving it into a generic, plain bag. No, my organization is proud of the work we are doing with that woman, and proud of her resulting accomplishment, so when we sell it, we'll put our name to it. Proudly. And I get time not staring at a computer screen. Everyone wins.