Since days of old, companies of various sizes have adopted the approach of mass hiring flocks of fresh young people, shoving average pay and “exposure” down their throats in exchange for cold hard labour. For many people, it’s a chance to broaden their horizons and do something interesting, earning lods of emone for something related to their chosen career path instead of undertaking a part time job in an undesired field. We call these internships. To many, they are an incredibly beneficial experience, but for others, the dreaded Intern Churn rises from the depths and drags them asunder.
You know, it drags them Sub Terra?
Anyway, moving swiftly on.
So what is the Intern Churn? Not only is it a term I made up just to add some rhyming to the name of the blog post, it’s also a very simple description of the way in which companies operate their internship programs. Traditionally, large companies will hire massive amounts of inexperienced young people, aiming to push as many people through the internship programs in as short a space of time as they can. Doing this has several benefits – for one, they can get away with paying people not very much, because the length of the program means a lot of young people might not take as big a financial hit. It also means that they can constantly get fresh, engaged minds hammering away at work that tends to require low levels of initial training (ie. admin work, book keeping etc). The fact that they push so many young minds through means they can also raise their status as community contributors, giving them positive attention and a good reputation amongst people. They also get to give some industry experience to the interns, but most of the time that’s auxiliary to them.
So what about smaller companies who hire interns? Well, that’s where ITB comes in!
Now I’ve worked at large companies before, and it’s essential that I point out the massive differences between the two. For one, working at a large company obviously means you will be one of many employees, often going unnoticed.
(The image above is part of something I’m going to be doing in my blog posts titled Where’s WalDan – if you find me in the image, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org showing me where, and you’ll win a super awesome prize!)
For many (including myself) that presents an immediate problem. It’s hard to come up with creative and interesting ideas when you’re working in a large company, as those with the power to make them happen tend to be sealed away at the top of their ivory towers. In big companies, a lot of the time the work you do can often be work that you’re not emotionally invested in, and so the fruits of your labour might not be instantly recognisable to you. Doing work that’s designed to line the pockets of corporate fat cats without any kind of constructive benefit to you is laboursome – sometimes you even become a tiny replaceable cog in an ever turning machine.
In less poetic terms, you’re an expendable employee with zero input.
Of course, working for a large company has it’s merits. In my old job for example, we received free coffee, a modern workspace, and an array of healthcare and dental benefits. We also received a special fund each year that we could spend on doing things to better ourselves (in my case, I spent about £300 of company money on random Udemy courses and a year’s subscription to Lynda – fun times!). The job security was good, and knowing that my screw up wouldn’t have the power to completely shatter a brand was a nice comfort.
Enter ITB; the smaller company. As previously mentioned, there is a huge dynamic shift between working for different sized companies. ITB is quite an intimate team – our office space isn’t the size of multi national corporation offices, but there’s fewer of us too. We all work within a couple of meters of eachother, and we definitely don’t fire NERF guns at eachother from across the office. The work is a lot more independent – tasks are set via Peter’s platform of choice and we’re left to crack on. It’s a really nice approach and actually feels akin to being self employed, which is a definite bonus. You’re also working with the same people each day, so there’s no awkward water cooler talk. All in all, the entire experience things is a very positive intimate , one where you’re given the chance to learn things you might not necessarily already know.
However, there are a couple of grievances of course. For one, since it’s such a small team, there aren’t yet dedicated departments for things. All processes go through Peter, and while he is incredibly efficient, it means that if he’s occupied with something important it might take a while to get something sorted out. Payroll query? Peter. HR question? Peter. You can imagine how taxing it must get for him!
As previously mentioned, working at ITB is a very independent experience, which works for me but could be difficult for others. Peter’s always around to provide help, but if you’re working on something particularly intricate and detailed then it’s another situation where you have to go and bug Mr. Blenkharn. Larger companies would have department leads of course, but working in this industry there can be an array of different problems that crop up, and having more people around means more people to bug for answers.
And that’s essentially it! A lot of people don’t realise the employment differences caused by company size, and that’s what inspired me to write up this entry.
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