Internships have basically replaced entry-level jobs. They're all but required if you want to get into the working world. Even so, I don't think attitudes about interns have changed. Interns are still sort of viewed as barely competent coffee-getters, go-fers, filers, etc. There've been numerous times when something, somewhere, goes wrong -- say, the blackout at the SuperBowl -- and someone will jokingly grumble, "Damn intern!"
Well, I'm here to tell the world that that's not okay.
If I've learned anything from living with some of the best interns in the country, it's that (most) interns are incredibly smart and incredibly motivated -- and that we would never, EVER be caught dead screwing up our jobs. We're the ones who go over things meticulously, trying to put our best foot forward 24/7 to impress our bosses (and everyone else) and to prove ourselves.
I've been lucky enough to work under people at USA Volleyball (and elsewhere) who know that "intern" isn't synonymous with "incompetent," and who are willing to trust me with responsibility and listen to my ideas. I've also been lucky to work with another awesome intern, Kristina, who I've been a team with pretty much since day one. And it's a good thing, too, because we've made some pretty awesome things happen.
|I mean, don't we look like the most baller team of interns ever?|
As most of you probably know, Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings are the best beach volleyball team of all time, having won three consecutive Olympic gold medals. They're also one of the best teams of all time, period, in any sport, as only one other team in Olympic history has kept the same members and won three consecutive gold medals. (Trust me, I looked it up. The other team is two brothers from Slovakia who compete in canoeing.) This past August was the first anniversary of their third gold medal win, and Kristina and I thought... well, why not turn that into some awesome content for the website?
We took the idea to our boss man, who helped us fine tune our idea and brainstorm a bit, gave us some guidance and advice, and then basically told us to have at it.
We decided to turn it into two stories; one talking to Misty and Kerri, and the other talking to other volleyball greats about Misty and Kerri. I emailed probably close to a dozen athletes for quotes, and you wouldn't believe the names in my inbox; Matt Anderson, Todd Rogers, Holly McPeak, Sinjin Smith, Rich Lambourne, Danielle Scott. One of my bosses even did a video interview with Karch Kiraly, the king of volleyball and the undisputed best player the game has ever seen, Olympic gold medalist in indoor AND beach, using my questions.
|Kind of fitting that his last name literally means "king." All hail the man in the pink hat!|
|And that's Karch answering my questions, and me transcribing it. One of the cooler moments of my life.|
It was kind of insane! Check out the story here!
But then, of course, there was the task of getting ahold of Misty and Kerri themselves. Nobody was
particularly optimistic that we'd succeed, and for a while it wasn't looking too good. But at long last, Kristina was able to set up a phone interview with Kerri. There was a bit of a mishap at the get-go that involved me sprinting through the USA Volleyball office with my recorder in one hand and our list of questions flapping along in the other. But Kristina pulled it off beautifully, and moments of panic like that are what fond memories are made of!
Misty, on the other hand, was posing more of a problem, and we were freaking out a little bit. How could we write a story about Misty and Kerri without Misty?! After a brief powwow, we decided that desperate times called for desperate measures. So I tweeted at her. Shot in the dark. Couldn't hurt, right?
Imagine your surprise when, the next night, I saw this:
I basically fell off my bed, before promptly screencapping it and sending it to Kristina with a text that said, "OMG I'M GOING TO PASS OUT!!!"
Misty ended up emailing me her answers to the questions Kristina had sent her agent rather than doing a phone interview, but any response at all was so much more than ANYONE had expected! Like, it was a really big deal that we got this done. Read our Misty/Kerri story here!
So our stories were published on USAVolleyball.org, and we got all sorts of kudos (and apparently made someone at the FIVB cry), but my favorite praise was this:
Hey girl hey! Life = complete.
How's that for some lowly interns?
|Yes, I agree. [Photo courtesy FIVB.]|
So the next time you feel like hating on us peons of the workplace, just keep in mind that we're busting our butts and chatting with Olympians while making less money per hour than we used to make working at a gym...
Sigh. It's a small price to pay for the experience, for sure, but... man, what's it like to be able to afford things?
But anyway, I digress. Interns. We're awesome. And if you insinuate otherwise, you may just find an intern's foot in some very uncomfortable places on your body. :)