Rejoice dear reader! In a historical moment not entirely dissimilar to the French revolution, I, a humble intern, have managed to take
Richard Brown’s coveted Dear Diary page.
Ok, maybe it’s a bit dissimilar – I didn’t exactly take the piece from Rich so much as he asked me to do it. And I guess, if you’re being pedantic, you could possibly argue the French revolution was a bit more important in the grand scheme of things. But I still get to write this piece, so I can shout ‘Liberté, égalité, fraternité!‘
It’s actually been a fairly interesting time to be an intern. Recent newspaper stories on the Government’s reporting of 100 companies to HM Revenue and Customs got the nation talking about my peculiar workplace subgroup, and there’s a real debate about our place in society.
First, it’s a welcome relief my job goes beyond the stereotypical tea- and coffee- making duties. My skills in this area aren’t exactly up to scratch. I don’t really drink hot drinks. Not wishing to reinforce stereotypes about my generation, but I’ve always found boiling a kettle more effort than its worth and so I’ve never developed a taste for them.
It all tastes horrible, yet getting a round of these drinks is horribly complicated thanks to the vast array of typical orders (milk and no sugar, Grant; no milk or sugar, Rich; 2kg of sugar and a pipette of milk, Fred) which all seem, to me, to be attempts to detract from the same basic taste.
Green tea is ok, though. (You hipster – Ed.)
Instead, an intern at Motor Finance, and its sister publications gets the chance to conduct and write up interviews, chase news stories and come up with and write original pieces (even if they do sometimes get distracted by a warm-beverage-based rant).
Doing this gives you a chance to develop some good writing habits while breaking bad ones. Simple as it sounds, things like using the past tense for breaking news, present tense for features, always referring to a company in the possessive singular, and treating the word "new" like an age-old enemy can be jarring at first.
Conducting and writing up interviews is more work than it appears, but is a useful way to build up industry contacts and is a necessary skill to have. The same goes for coming up with and developing original pieces, though undoubtedly the biggest development an intern at Motor Finance can expect is to become able to process news information and turn it into an article extremely quickly.
This is what internships are meant to be – a chance to get to grips with some of the basic aspects of the industry and build up a small collection of industry contacts, all the while working towards a job, safe in the knowledge that if you mess up, it’s Rich or Fred who will be the ones to get it in the neck.
And hopefully the fact interns are cheap makes up for the odd case of pore speling, typ0s, grammar etc.
Besides, if I wasn’t doing this, I would probably be in the middle of watching some sort of cheesy action movie marathon, so this is a much more productive use of my time. Even though the idea of watching every single Robocop back-to-back is quite appealing right now. Ok, maybe not Robocop 3.
Speaking of these films, it’s interesting to ponder where the world of finance is going to go, as a relative outsider. The question, as we tumble through the 21st century, is no longer: Will we see unhinged, cyborg, law-enforcement killing machines? It is: How do we pay for them? Should they be classed as an asset? How do you calculate the voluntary termination value of a militant android? Either way, Omnicorp will probably be the way to go. It has a website, so you know they are legitimate.
A more realistic question is: Will the industry be able to continue its rapid upward growth in an economy that is, to put it mildly, knackered? Given the readership of the magazine, I’m assuming we can all agree we hope it will do.
It seems each day I’m writing an article on a different lender, reporting year-on-year growth, or a manufacturer reporting the success of improved finance deals. It’s all making my efforts to be a cynical journalist more difficult.
But being jaded, I have learned, is an integral part of journalism. Rich has yet to beat all sense of optimism out of me, and so I will continue as an intern. I will only know I’m ready when I finally tell Rich: "Make your own latte and bring me a builder’s, I’ve been up all night studying ’80s science fiction for corporate and retail leasing implications."
Don’t worry, regular service will resume on this page next month.