Day 249: A Beginner’s Guide to Interning…

Hello, hello, hello!

It has been far too long since we last spoke. All sorts of wonderful things have happened. I have graduated and am now contemplating changing my title to The Clever Asparagus BA (Hons) – I joke!

Since leaving university, my days have consisted of commuting to London each day in an attempt to become the next Anna Wintour… it hasn’t quite happened yet, but I’m working on it.


My intentions were to give you a weekly update of the work experience and internships that I have been doing. However, having just completed internship no.3, I have far too much to relay and the last thing I want to do is bore you.

Somewhere along the line, I signed a confidentiality agreement, so legally I can’t divulge all the juicy gossip anyway. Hmm… am I working for magazines or MI5?

A Beginner’s Guide to Nando’s was quite a success, so I have compiled A Beginner’s Guide to Interning, with ten top tips. Some of this may seem really obvious, but it’s shocking the simple mistakes you hear about. Even if you aren’t looking to intern, this guide applies to many jobs…

1) You will probably be asked to make tea. Deal with it. If you aren’t asked, offer anyway. This is your opportunity to communicate with the whole team. It’s amazing how much a cup of Earl Grey can brighten someone’s day.

2) If you are affectionately known as the ‘coffee b*tch’, be the best darn ‘coffee b*tch’ the company have ever had. Take on the persona of Father Ted’s Mrs. Doyle – consider using an Irish accent if it helps.

3) Sent on errands that involve money? Always get a receipt – granted this might not be so easy if you’ve been sent out for illicit substances.                                           Disclaimer: I have only ever been asked to buy food, cigarettes and lattes!

4) If you don’t have a brilliant memory, write everything down. A request might not seem important at the time, but you may be taken up on it later on. It’s more efficient to look back at your notes than to continually pester your employers.

5) So, you didn’t write something down. You’re not quite sure what to do. Do ask. Asking is better than getting it completely wrong.

6) Keep it professional. Of course you should engage with the people around you. However, never give too many details about your personal life. You’re not on the payroll yet – your boss doesn’t need to hear about your sexual history or drunken antics – regardless of how hilarious you think your tales are.

7) This is the most obvious, the one you hear all the time: Be punctual!! Of course there will be days when your train is late. However, being late every day translates as unreliable. Unreliable equals unemployable.

8) Explore! If you’re in a beautiful city, like London, make the most of your breaks and take a look around. Just remember to come back on time.

9) Consider taking a packed lunch. As an intern, your pay will be low – that’s if you’re getting paid at all. Lunching at Pret every day starts to add up.

10) Stick it out and enjoy it. Interning is such a great opportunity to figure out what you want to do. Even if you hate your placement, don’t quit. The contacts you meet and the references you walk away with will come in really handy one day.

The Silly Asparagus is not claiming to be an expert, but following these tips should prevent you from making any major mistakes.

Some of you reading this will completely disagree with the internship system. But it’s unlikely to change anytime soon, so make the best of it. A majority of journalists will have been an intern at some point in their career. For every job you refuse to do, there are plenty of others willing to snap up the opportunity.

If you have any questions regarding interning at all, please leave me a comment below or drop me an email at: thesillyasparagus@live.co.uk. I’ll do my best to help.

On Wednesday, I begin a very exciting internship with cosmopolitan.co.uk. I cannot wait to get started. Wish me luck!

Talk to you soon.

Remember to send me your questions and I will feature them on here.

With Love,

The Silly Asparagus. x

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Day 134: Self-Esteem

Good day to you.

I hope that you have had a lovely Easter and are suitably filled with chocolate eggs. Today’s post is not linked to vegetarianism, but it is related to health and well-being.

A few days ago, an advert caught my eye and I wanted to share it with you.

The Silly Asparagus can relate to the advert, having suffered from low self-esteem for as long as I can remember.  When I was younger, I used to go to dance class.  I was a chubby child, and memories of putting on a green unitard twice a week still makes me shudder.  My feet also grew a lot faster than the other girls.  I would dread ordering new dance shoes and would delay doing so, because I knew that my dance teacher would make her usual jokes.  I made it through the worst (being a teenager), but when I approach a mirror I still have to make a very conscious effort to look at myself with a positive attitude. I know that I am not alone and suspect that you could share some similar stories.

Samantha Brick has been causing quite a stir in recent weeks — I’d be very surprised if you haven’t heard of her.  The gist of the story can be found here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2125138/Samantha-Brick-Daily-Mail-writer-goes-viral-controversial-Im-beautiful-article.html?ito=feeds-newsxml.  In a matter of hours, Samantha became a laughing stock. Social media sites turned savage, tearing the woman apart for her confidence and appearance.  I too found myself staring at this woman in disbelief and laughing at her comments.  Yet, if Miranda Kerr or Rosie Huntington-Whitely had said the same thing, we would all agree with them and admire their beauty.  Maybe we all need to be a bit more like Samantha Brick?  Maybe everyone should stand up and recognise their good points.  I often want to shake sense into my friends, when they call themselves fat or ugly. Continuous self-deprecation is not a desirable trait, is often untrue and is irritating for everyone involved.

In the past, Dove have featured ‘real women’ in their adverts.  Their new campaign focuses on improving the self esteem of young girls.  Their website states that “The Dove Self-Esteem Programme was founded to ensure that the next generation grows up into happy and content adults, free from misconstrued beauty stereotypes and the burden of self-doubt.”  Dove will donate money from their products to charity.  The website also provides helpful resources for children, parents and teachers to use (http://www.dove.co.uk/dsep/support-tools/workshops.html).

There are always debates about what causes low self-esteem and issues with body image.  Because it is continually being discussed, I feel that people are becoming bored or  desensitised with the topic.  The problem is only getting worse, so brands like Dove bringing the issue back into the spotlight will hopefully help combat problems.

The only negative aspect of the campaign is that it is aimed solely at females.  Whilst things such as eating disorders are more prevalent amongst females, males also suffer.  Plastic surgery figures amongst males are continuously rising.  There are items for sale like ‘guyliner’ (eyeliner for men). Males also feel the same pressures to look good and ‘improve’ themselves.  However, the charity that Dove are supporting, Beat (http://www.b-eat.co.uk/) does help people of all ages and gender.

I hate to sound cliché, but remember that you are beautiful.

With love,

The Silly Asparagus