Making a Plan
Internships and apprenticeships offer a career taste test.
(PAH-ver-TUNE-i-TEE) 1. A job that comes with no salary but has the promise of advancement. “An internship at Vogue offered Margot a great povertunity.”
Wordsmith and blogger Lizzie Skurnick coined the word povertunity to describe what is becoming a common pursuit in this economy. There are times when offering your services to a company for no or low pay can result in a more permanent and profitable opportunity.
Companies that provide apprenticeships and internships meet their goals if a participant completes the program 100 percent assured that it is the right field for them.
The flip side of that is also true. If the apprentice or intern completes the program and knows beyond a doubt this is NOT what he or she wants to do, it was also a success.
There are many career options in every industry sector — including nonprofits — and taking advantage of an internship opportunity can provide valuable exposure to the real world of work in that field. At the same time, it provides you with work experience that might help you qualify for other opportunities once the internship is complete.
Patrick Sheffield and Alyssa Ten Eyck are two Florida professionals who made the leap from intern to employee.
Taking a Step Back
Patrick Sheffield graduated from the University of Florida with a marketing degree in 2009. Even in that tough economic climate, he landed a lucrative offer to manage an automotive parts retail store in south Georgia. It was good money, a respectable position and not too far from home. But it didn’t take long for Patrick to realize it was not a good fit for him.
“It was a good job,” says Patrick, “just not the job for me. I couldn’t imagine spending 40 to 50 hours a week doing that for the rest of my life.”
For nine months Patrick stashed away his paychecks and continued to do a good job until he was ready to make a job change.
Patrick swallowed his pride and moved back home to Perry to start over. He worked odd jobs for three months and made looking for permanent work a priority. Then, through a friend, he heard Moore Cmmunications Group in Tallahassee was looking for an intern. Patrick applied and was accepted. But it wasn’t easy; he had to use his savings to manage the cost of commuting while working for no pay.
“I was a sponge to learn,” recalls Patrick. “I sought every opportunity to get my hands on as much as possible. I loved the work and was fortunate to be in a place where interns are given responsibility for projects, not just there to be helpers. I was able to prove myself.”
Within four months, a full-time position opened up, and Patrick’s povertunity paid off. He’s now an account executive developing and managing communication plans for national and local clients.