Editor’s Note: The following blog post reflects the opinions and thoughts of the author alone and should not be viewed as official statements or positions of PRSSA. PRSA/PRSSA advocates for employers to offer interns compensation in the form of class credit or financial compensation.
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You know the saying, “money talks.” Everyone wants to find that perfect internship that pays a pretty penny. Why wouldn’t you? You are working, so why not make a profit? But the ultimate goal of an internship is experience. Learning how to be the best of the best in the ‘biz’ is what the real payment is.
In order to make it in the world of public relations one must learn the value of what mutually beneficial relationships are. I know what you are thinking, “I give a company my time and energy, I get paid for it.” It’s a win-win for both parties. But realistically not all internship opportunities will pay you. You have to be able to be flexible in order to make the most out of this type of working relationship.
I began to work at my part-time job as a sophomore in high school. I was so bright-eyed and eager to get out in the world and make money. The money was good and I got stuck in the mindset that I would always get paid for my time. That was immature and naive thinking on my part. As soon as I began my first unpaid internship, I was in unknown territory. I didn’t put in a lot of effort. I would leave my internship and complain to my boss about how I was giving my time but wasn’t gaining anything from it. He set me straight really quickly and gave me a piece of advice that I still use to this day — “It builds character.”
What I learned from this experience is that hard work builds character. I adjusted my attitude after hearing this advice, and my work at the internship improved 100%. Once I became open minded I began learning more about public relations than I could have ever imagined. I put myself in the shoes of a practitioner. I was able to succeed and absorb an innumerable amount of information. I learned that having maturity, patience, perseverance, and empathy would allow me to be successful in anything that I do.
We all want to be rewarded for our work. Money is definitely something that adds value to our work, but then again so does gaining experience to be more successful in the future. By being open minded and allowing yourself to just take it all in, you are building character that will make you a much more valuable hire.
Emily Hall is a junior at Samford University. Hall serves as an ambassador for the journalism and mass communications department. She hopes to work as an event and special events coordinator for an agency once she graduates in 2022. Follow her on Instagram @emilymarie_hall to follow her journey.