Internship culture and the fear of being ordinary

Disclaimer, I am 25, I am still insanely young and able to switch gears which is great. However, I am also neurotic, I obsessively compare myself to others and put myself down, plus I am so scared of wasting my life and settling for less than what I am capable of. This sets the scene for tonight’s rant, brought to you by a person in my film school with 3 part-time jobs.


In 2014, I was able to meet great people with awesome part time jobs in the media, film, TV industries, and what do I do? I sell handbags. Am I ashamed of it? A little bit. I guess I am a snob and think, I deserve better after years of work experience and a degree. But I am also proud of myself, I was able to find that job while I was still abroad, it pays more than any bartending gig and the bills are paid. My parents always said, there is no shame in working these kinds of jobs while you are studying but at 25, I feel like I should be doing something else on Saturdays than vacuum after rich people, fetch overpriced handbags for old ladies and get yelled at by spoiled trophy wives.


It would be more awesome if I cared about bags but I really don’t. This might seem weird but after this long rant I have to say, I kind of like my job, my colleagues are crazy but kinda awesome. I really dig working with people and small talk, lighting the mood, making people happy and bridging awkward pauses with knowledgeable fun facts about the weather. Those are the good sides of my job.

I admire doctors and lawyers who were always fixated and pretended to know what they wanted. But I don’t. I know a few things I do not want, like people yelling at me, cleaning toilets, rules and regulations on a daily basis, 9 to 5, one location, working alone. I do not want to settle for the mundane and boring, being a housewife with 5 kids while a part time secretary, sounds as bad as being homeless, I am sorry but for me it does. I want to explore, travel, not worry about money (not being rich but not having to struggle for rent and food), I want to be creative and communicate and be in front of people. I am not scared of hard work, early mornings and realize that not every day can be amazing but how do I make the most out of what I have? And how does one combine this with a love for and knowledge about TV, I do not know.


The problem is not that I have not figured out the big picture, who even has? I am so damn insecure and unsure of myself and the business side of things. I constantly apply for jobs that are not what I exactly want to do but that I am qualified for and that “will do” for 6 months. I should probably pick something I actually want to learn or do and ask if they take on interns, experience can never hurt but I am just so confused. I don’t know the market, which companies would even make sense?! Do i even have the necessary skills to apply, should I first improve on a skill to get better chances? Everyone that I know and admire got a foot in the door through unpaid internships, that seems to be the case for a lot of fields. I am studying and working and sleeping,  I don’t have the money to work for free. A lot of my lecturers keep saying that we as the future of the world (whatever *puke) should refuse to work for free in order to change the system of others using newcomers to drive the prices down and undermine the market but who would take ME on for money? Am i selling myself short? Most TV channels in Germany are not taking on new staff, so while it is great for me to spend my own non existent cash to sleep on peoples floors to work for free, if I have no chance whatsoever to be taken on as a staff member there, then what is the point?


I know people who do every internship, people who create start ups, others who say that after earning a degree the government is responsible for providing them with a job in their field that pays what they consider appropriate. I do realize that I am incredibly lucky, I have the opportunity to get an education, to complain about drifting though the world in my 20s and not knowing what I want and how to get there. A lot of people in the world do not have the luxury and privilege to complain about selling handbags. It is probably just my quarter life crisis speaking cause after years of being told what one is supposed to do to succeed (school, university, jobs) it is likely not unusual to miss a paint-by-numbers structure for the next stage of my career. The current plan is to hop from interesting opportunity to the next one, who knows I might just find something along the way that calms the fear of living an ordinary life.

I do not own any of the pics in this post.


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