How To Deal When There’s More Busy Work Than Learning During Your Internship


career girl

There is nothing more frustrating than sitting at your desk, mindlessly searching through databases and PR contacts or even just filing papers. Sometimes it can even be as simple as running to FedEx, ordering new pens for your office, or putting in the lunch order for the client meeting. I like to call this type of work, busy work.

In the PR world for example, busy work is hard to define, but once you are doing it, you know that’s what it is. The worst part about this is that it is inevitably going to happen to you. However, I am here to tell all of you lovely interns how to deal with this stage in your career and even how to turn it into a learning experience.

Every intern has to do busy work in order to earn their spot in the company and prove themselves to their employers. PR and fashion internships tend to have more busy work than others simply because so much research and organising has to be done before the real client work gets started.

I remember at one point, my days were filled with coffee runs, ordering lunches, filling out inventory forms, and organizing office supplies; and I can go on and on! When I felt myself growing impatient with these seemingly menial tasks, I always thought that I would make the most of it because one day my goal was to be the Senior Account Executive, or Senior Vice President, or any other executive management position in the company.

If you’re asked to go get three coffees, make it the best coffee run you’ve ever been on! If your supervisor asks you to order her lunch, make sure you are polite, and get the order right! If you have to find five contacts from Vogue, make sure you do your research! A positive attitude goes a long way, and even the most boring of tasks can teach you something even if it has nothing to do with your internship. For example, if someone asks you to do four things at once, all pretty basic tasks, you can prove to them that you are simply amazing at multi-tasking.

PR girls and any career focused woman have to be able to keep their cool even in the most stressful of situations, so being able to multi-task is crucial if you want to impress your employers.

Another important skill that busy work can teach you is time management. I know that sometimes it can be hard to find motivation to complete these tasks, but if you are determined enough to get all of them done on time, you will feel accomplished and proud. All of a sudden you have to know how much time you need to fill out paper work, file weekly reports, order a copy of Vanity Fair and deliver mail. While you may not be pitching to clients just yet, your time management skills are being put to the test!

Busy work can also improve your organizational skills. While we are career minded women, sometimes even we can forget where we placed our notepad or where we were supposed to have that client meeting. That being said, busy work will sooner or later force you to have everything under control! Even the most simple of tasks will help you become more organised in the future.

All of these skills are super important for us career girls! We are always on the go and always extremely pressed for time trying to keep organised on our blackberries and iPhones. We all may have different clients, and different schedules, but one thing we all have in common is that we started out by doing busy work and pitching our way up the ladder. Ask any PR person or girl working in the fashion industry and I can be sure that they will tell you that they all had their fair share of busy work. I am not sugar coating the fact that you may get bored faster from this type of work in your internship, but I will tell you that if you do these tasks to the best of your ability, your hard work will not go unrecognized! Soon, you will be the star intern of your company and become the expert on anything related to office management. No matter what you do, everyone will notice how you handle every situation with poise and will continue to keep you on their radar, and trust me, that is definitely where you want to be.

Keep your Tory Burch pumps firmly planted on the ground, and stay cool in your fab Michael Kors dress and you will see that this busy work is only meant to help you in the long run. Every girl needs a little push, so take this busy work as that extra nud

Nicole Botsaris

Nicole is a 21-year-old public relations student at Hofstra University in Long Island, New York. She currently works part-time at Rubenstein Public Relations in Manhattan as a publicist intern, and does freelance work on the side. She hopes to work full-time for a New York City PR agency, and besides enjoying the life of a busy PR girl, she loves to shop, cook, read and explore all of New York City.