Blogging Internships, Anyone?

Filed as Features on August 25, 2008 1:13 pm

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NY Times blog Shifting Careers recently featured a story about a student interning at a blogger’s home office. High school student Sara Jane Berman was on-the-job for a few weeks at the home-office of NY Times columnist (and blogger) Marci Alboher and had described the experience as “different from a conventional internship.”

Instead of the stereotypical “gofer” work, such as photocopying, my job consisted of tasks such as thinking of questions for interviews, proof-reading Marci’s blog posts, and keeping an eye on her dog, Sinatra, during phone interviews.

On my first day I noticed that the line between work and home life was blurred, which may be expected from the author who coined the term “slash” as a type of career. I quickly learned that for working out of a home, versatility was essential. One minute I was answering the phone “Hello, Marci’s office” and next it was time to walk the dog or fix something for lunch.

I would agree with the blurring of the lines between work and home life, and I would say this is perhaps common with bloggers (and other professionals) who have all the comforts of home and the rigors of work within easy reach. Running a home office myself, this line would often be crossed. Yes, there are advantages and there are disadvantages, too, which I don’t think we need to expound on in this post.

What I find interesting is how well the internship job went, particularly with the home-office setup. In my experience working in government service and in a corporate environment, interns were often assigned menial or tedious tasks. Most interns we took under our care with were usually asked to do the most boring of work, like encoding, photocopying, filing, or the like, even if sometimes their capabilities appeared to exceeded that of the regular staffers.

Perhaps because of the nature of writing and blogging work, the casual environment of being in a home-office would mean that otherwise menial tasks like walking the dog or preparing food would actually be part of the job.

I have yet to see the day when someone would email or call me asking for an internship. If that ever happens, I would probably hesitate to accept. My home office is practically a disaster area, with equipment, files and kids’ toys cluttered about. And being a few steps from the bedroom, having a stranger here would be somewhat of an invasion of my privacy. But then again, blogging being mostly online work, I could probably accept interns if they were to work at their own home offices!

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