Ode to Future Interns

By Paul Wells, Spring 2013 Marketing Internwp

~To the brave, empty-pocketed soldiers whose lips scintillate at the mere mention of crisp, No.10 Printmaster windowed envelopes~

Last summer, reflecting on my collegiate experiences to date, I remember thinking that I sure had spent a lot of time figuring out things that I didn’t like to do. Semester long investments in entirely unfitting internships and classes for which my interest peaked after reading a catalog description and tanked thereafter left me woefully struggling to pick the next endeavor that I would quickly grow tired of.

This was, I thought, an increasingly unproductive use of my time. When would I find something I wanted to get out of bed for?

I knew I was reasonably okay at writing, enjoyed spending hours on the Internet, and had a hankering for exploring foreign cultures. But I felt that the question of how to get paid to do any/all of these things was oft asked by twenty-somethings and impossible to successfully answer. 

After being introduced to Heyday through a fine book printing class at Cal, I came to a few admittedly unfounded conclusions. First,  I decided the “world of publishing” was alluring to me. Second, I could bear answering the next six months of adult’s ceaseless career questions with, “Well, I work at a publishing house”. And third (this one being a great perk), it offered a partial solution to my problem of not having the guts to bail on my Economics major and head for the hills of the English department. 

Much to my eventual delight, Heyday offered more than a temporary answer to my career questions and dispelled many of my impressions of a sterile adult work world.

I’ll leave most of Heyday’s particulars to your discovery, but an important one is their definition of and identity as a regional publisher. To them, this doesn’t just mean producing books about California, but rather publishing with a mission of showcasing the beauty, tradition, and humanity of California’s past and present in a way that connects people to their surroundings. To me, this produces a certain anomalistic quality in Heyday.

While the rest of the publishing industry is dominated by questions about the whole digital debacle, the uncertain future of printed books, and how to stay relevant to evolving consumers, Heyday isn’t. It’s not that the staff is blissfully unaware of these questions, or that they all live and die by the printed book, or that they necessarily feel insulated from the rest of the industry. Rather, they just don’t operate under the same rules as everybody else. It seems that when your concerns are exposing the work of young writers, promoting environmental conservation, and painting literary pictures of California (to name a few), not much room is left for iPad apps. At least not yet.

In this sense, and in many others, Heyday will likely prove different from your impressions of publishing houses, of non-profit organizations, and of local businesses in general.

 


 

My canine counterpart

My canine counterpart

This phrase is thrown around a lot, but the internship is truly what you make of it.  If you want to make the career center proud, you can network with an office full of people that have made careers around extremely artistic, intellectual, and engaging content. Or, if you so choose, you can get to know the downstairs folk and spend free time reading Heyday titles, researching the different avenues of publishing, revising blog content, and contemplating your navel.

In general, what I found was a place that I enjoyed spending my days at and a place uniquely warmed by interesting people with an acute care for their work. Although my time at Heyday coincided with the deplorable process of finding a job while finishing school, working another part time job, and reconciling my post-college reality with idyllic childhood dreams, the people with whom I worked entirely understood that some days I just wanted to hide behind the computer and turn the clock back to sand boxes and snow cones. Perhaps most significantly, I learned that the course to figuring out your semester plans, or your summer job plans, or your post-graduation plans is often of an unfortunately non-linear nature. Along this search, I realized it is important to avoid a phenomenon common to our generation–  of looking at different opportunities as mere stepping stones to an eventual but ambiguous goal of being Captain America, or Sir Editor, or Mr. Manager as the case may be. I think by introducing interns to a wealth of intriguing content and insightful people (two things often overlooked in classrooms),  Heyday helps slow down our thinking and proves to be a welcomed, twice-weekly redirection for our brains. For me, if nothing else, the experience offered some unspoken guidance through some of the most difficult decisions I’ve faced.

And now, whereas I spent much of my time here filled with questions about the organization, its work, and publishing in general, I’m leaving with only one remaining mystery– that is, how to approach the man who wonders around the office, slightly hunched over, with his hands tucked in the back of his pants, always talking about the most wonderful and beautiful things a human being can do.

 

If any future interns are curious about Heyday or the internship, feel free to email me at pjwells33@gmail.com.

 

 

Comments

  1. My Heyday Books for Kids Development internship was memorable and had a profoundly positive impact on my career as a web and print writer. Some examples? Well, Grantwriter Patricia Wakida taught me templates for small, medium and large grants. My rotation in the Sales (Joanne Chan Taylor), Development, Media (Zak Nelson), Acquisitions (William Justice) and Outreach gave me hands-on experience for Promotions protocol, screening manuscripts, evaluating galleys, executing public relations campaigns, thanking donors and working with museums and other educational nonprofits. Since Heyday Books I’ve worked for print/new media magazines, a top 10 online yellow pages, 17-years-young ecommerce retailers, a top 3 world games and entertainment business and humor sites for real estate. Heyday Books internship supervisors asked me, “What is your big dream?” Mentors like these will catapult you in your publishing career. Working with Malcolm Margolin and others at Heyday Books was such a blessing in 2003-4. Best wishes, Renee (Lam) Marchol