When It Comes To Internships, Have Reasonable Expectations

For whatever reason, Internships seem to be popping up on the topic radar quite a bit this season. Last week, we examined toxic internship environments and the damage they can do to participants and earlier this week, a colleague sent me a copy of an internship that had jaw-droppingly unrealistic expectations.

Nutshell: this organization has a marketing/communications internship that expects the participant to take photo and video footage of live performances and rehearsals, schedule and conduct interviews with performers and guest artists, then edit everything into a “one of a kind video for YouTube.”

The intern is expected to handle the end-to-end process including, but not limited to, “storyboarding, logistics, shooting, editing, and publishing. The candidate will need Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, Captivate, and Photoshop skills.

Apparently, you have to be a male because the listing specifically said they are looking for a “fresh, think outside-the-box creative guy.” Can

The internship lasts 6.5 weeks and pays…wait for it…$230/week.

The entire listing contains nothing but expectations. No word about mentorship, potential for program credit, etc.

If you’re looking for a good example of what not to do, this covers most of those bases.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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