Internships are the gateway to a world full of exciting possibilities and opportunities. They are usually a student’s first foray into the real world and go a long way in forming impressions that determine crucial career choices. While big companies, marketable brand names and attractive stipends are the first targets when it comes to scoring star internships, lately a lot more variety has been introduced into this game.
Most internships do not pay stipends. Students are okay with that because they get to associate themselves with prestigious organizations and make valuable connections. Such commodities money cannot buy. Also such commodities Startups cannot offer.Startups have been changing and challenging the status quo ever since they came into the fray. They are tacitly small, independently funded and fast developing organizations that are founded on certain ideals and focus on inspiring ideas by the way of doing business. Misunderstand not, they are very money oriented. However, profits are not the mainstay of the organization. Values are.
Though internships are usually the byword in a student’s bible, their value can be explored at any given time in an adult’s life- especially if one is an aspiring entrepreneur. For most of those who sit on swivel chairs behind swanky desks, earning a jaw dropping salary, but yearn to seek more, give more, learn more and ultimately love more; this is the way to go. If you’ve been following updates from the debacle that is the US economy (who are we to talk, but still) you’d have read that more people in their forties and fifties, once they got laid off turned to internships to boost their resume, learn new skills and find new inspiration. If you desire to be at the helm of your own enterprise one day, then no amount of book learning can substitute for a taste of the real thing. Irrespective of your age, the prestige of your old job and the status it deserves, it is never too late for new and humbling experiences.
Given the stringent funding of Startups, offering stipends to interns is not usually an option for them either. Even employees fight it out on shoe string salaries, working out of passion rather than necessity. They do not possess glamour and star power that mega corporations boast of. Their reputation is well known only among a small circle of elites and fans. But if you take a chance and devote a summer to one of these minuscule organizations instead of a billion dollar capitalist industry, the things you will see and learn will make it more than worth your while. Here are some reasons why you should intern or work in a Startup.
1. OPTIMUM RESPONSIBILITY
Did I mention that Startups are perennially low on funds? That means that every hand on deck has to pull double duty to be able to make it to the end line. Even lowly interns will be entrusted with work far above their station, given that you’ve proven your mettle of course. As long you are seen to be sincere in your intentions, it does not matter if your resume does not boast of starry activities. Your workload will be sizeable; your contribution an important part of the core of the organization and you yourself will be invaluable to day to day operations.
2. INDECISION EUPHORIA
We all want jobs which will pay lots of money. Thus when you will enter the job market in full swing, then working in a Startup may not be a realistic option any more. Work in a Startup now because it will give you the freedom to choose and explore realms of professional variety that was hitherto unknown. If you are an undergraduate or master’s student then you must have a solid idea about what you want to do with your life. But are you absolutely sure that the life you have chosen is meant for you? In a Startup you will get to juggle roles, responsibilities and passions and test unknown waters that will help you decide. Making money may be important, but how you make it matters more.
3. INSPIRATIONS GALORE
A Startup is far removed from the stuffy formal ways of a corporate set up and dances to its own tunes and rhythms. It runs on pure drive and inspiration and there is chaos and creativity in all corners of its existence. It will mostly be founded and run by youngsters who chose this way of life for a reason. Youth ideology and color are the pulse of Startups and it is here that you will be urged to voice out your issues, work on your ideas and generally be a valuable team member of a dynamic and enthusiastic work environment.
4. LEARNING LEARNING
Given the excess responsibility and workload that will be your lot, it is inevitable that you will end up learning a lot more than if you had decided to intern for a large bustling company. As an intern reporter at a national newspaper office, Riddhi was at the bottom of the food chain scurrying to get coffee, answering phones and generally handling a bucket load of administrative errands that everyone kept thumping at her. Her next internship was for an online arts and culture magazine where she formulated story ideas, worked on design drafts, interviewed artists and writers and wrote a great many pieces that were very well received in the online community. She learned the ropes of journalism at the latter place far more effectively and credits it for the plum media job that she landed right out of University.
5. WHAT’S IN A NAME?
Perhaps Startups are guilty because they cannot pay us for the work we do. But they do want you to know that they heartily appreciate the time and effort you voluntarily dedicate for such a worthy establishment. Most organizations will bestow generous posts and titles that will impress peers and interviewers tremendously. Try names like Social Media Executive, Associate Director, Head PR Fellow, etc. There isn’t much to these names by way of money or power. But it instills a sense of purpose and respect that “trainee” and “intern” doesn’t. By the time you have completed your internship with a hi fi title, seeing that name on your resume will enforce a sense of achievement that is simply unbeatable.