The Hollywood Intern
You can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl. I learned that the hard way when I moved from my small country town and decided to go to college in LA. I found out that Los Angeles is a huge place full of congested swirling highways of drivers filled with road rage, hipster kids in tight jeans, amazing food trucks, movie stars and celebrities strolling around in nice weather, and its fair share of Hollywood interns.
I decided to become one of those many interns that you see in movies, such as The Devil Wears Prada, where lunch and coffee runs, not getting paid for endless work, and still learning a lot about ‘the business’ is an everyday occurrence. The crazy part about this decision for the summer is that I decided to do two of these internships at the same time along with working part-time at a department store on the other side of the big city. And when I’m not working I’m crashing on top of the blow-up mattress that is sitting in an extra room, across the hall from two toddlers, inside my uncle’s house. I have no rent, but instead I’m saving my money up for my own place that I’ll also stay at for my last few months of college, and the rest of my petty cash is guzzled by gas.
My life has now turned into the life of Anne Hathaway’s character in the movie but I’m sort of determined to just push through. I’m not sure yet, but I think the Universe or God or whatever has some sort of plan for me with all of this. Maybe I’m just supposed to take away something by the end of the summer—or maybe something else could even come out of this too. I guess we’ll just have to see.
I was sitting at my very uncomfortable chair inside my nice freezing refrigerator-of-an-office at one of my two internships when I thought to myself, ‘what am I doing here?’ It just hit me like a ton of bricks. I mean yes, I had applied to the position and added on another intense internship, along with my job at a department store, but I couldn’t figure out for the life of me why I would make a schedule so ridiculous and soul-sucking for myself. Was I secretly some masochistic office-space-loving intern that wanted to die by extreme stress and exhaustion, or I did I really think that this would help me get a real job later on and further my career?
I couldn’t tell you. My mind was foggy from working nonstop, and I could have sworn that my limbs were going numb in response to the near frostbite that my toes were developing. I sat there thinking about how I had gotten to this very spot and why I should actually stay here. My mind drifted outside to the warm rays of sunshine gently dusting the sidewalks just outside the office, and I thought about just packing up my things and getting into my car.
I would just drive and drive until I met the spot where the sun touched the horizon, at what seemed like the edge of the world, and I would just dive into the vast and expansive oblivion.
There I didn’t need to worry about freezing office temperatures, Starbucks runs for bosses and actors, or a pile of papers to go through that probably reached the twenty foot high ceiling. There I could just drift off to nowhere.
It wasn’t until I was about to just get up quit when the reasons why I had put myself into this situation came flooding back to me. The guy I work for is one of those Hollywood types that you run into while you’re in LA, but the thing that’s different with him is that he never let the fame get to him and he continued doing what he wanted to do even when people said he couldn’t.
The man is the online video equivalent of what I want my writing to eventually be like. He speaks about the issues that I find important and interesting, we mostly have the same political and social views on various issues, and I’d like to believe that I’m as hard working and incredibly diligent as he is, the difference being that I just haven’t gotten to the level of awesomeness that he has achieved.
This same guy that I now work for came up to me on my second day at this particular internship when I was pretty much bitching about how hard my life was and smiled. He stuck his hand out to properly greet me and I shook it. I think he knew what he was doing when he took the time to say hello and introduce himself. He put a smile on my face and sparked a little extra energy in my body that lasted me the rest of my intense day, and right then I thought to myself, ‘maybe I can do this.’ Of course I’m curious of how long that magically handshake will take me through this grueling summer.
It was on the first day of my second internship where I was reminded of the other reason of why I took on both of these internships. The second internship was located in the heart of LA where all of the famous fashion stores and Hollywood stars would set up shop. I probably only had to drive about twenty or thirty miles or so to get to the office, but because I had to join the massive migration of cars traveling at the speed of a garden snail, it took me about an hour to end up in my overpriced parking structure.
Subtly nods, polite handshakes, and names were exchanged as I tried to settle into the new environment. The work that they had me do wasn’t as nearly stressful, and the fact that I didn’t have to stay there as long as the first internship made it feel a lot more relaxing. I went through the day quietly minding my own business until one of the girls who worked their invited me out for drinks with the rest of the people at the office. I accepted the offer in hopes of getting to know everyone there a little better, and decided to stay a few extra hours until we all made our way over to the popular Mexican restaurant.
Rounds of margaritas and quesadillas were served, and as I snacked happily on my free chips and salsa that sat in front of me at my table, I listened to the work conversations turn into after-hour rants.
“I don’t think that I could love my child if I had adopted him,” said one coworker.
“I don’t think you would feel that way when you actually have your own kid,” said one of the freelance writers.
“Yeah, I’m pretty sure that you would see it differently later on. The love you have for your kid is unconditional,” said another coworker.
I dropped my salsa soaked chip after a while and interjected into the conversation. “Umm, I’m pretty sure that you would learn to love your kid when you actually have him,” I said while occasionally stuffing extremely cheesy quesadilla slices into my mouth.
The conversation went on for at least a half hour before the guy who said that he wouldn’t love his future kid got up to check the parking meter.
“Yeah, I’m guessing that you’re really getting to know personality now,” Another coworker said. “He wrote a piece before on how it’s okay to cheat on your spouse.”
“Yeah, now I know,” I responded.
“Yeah, he gives another perspective to things and makes the site we write for more interesting.”
I left that evening with, leftovers from the restaurant of course, and with a reminder of how beneficial different points of views could be in a conversation. The world of writing, social media, and journalism is the way that it is because of all the different voices that contribute to the global conversation. I was there at this internship to meet the other voices that I wanted to join after graduation. I wanted to meet the people who would play a part in the comments and responses that I would get from the pieces that I wanted to write. Tis internship was more than just a summer learning experience but mock-demonstration of what I really wanted to do for a living, and what I wanted to say while I was doing it was being said by the individuals at my other internship.
The combination of the two (I hope) will leave me with enough experience and knowledge that I can be ready for the next step after I leave my college campus, but of course I have to just wait and see if it actually does.
One the second day of my second internship I left the office early to go to my job at the department store that I had way across town. I had to leave about an hour and half or so before my shift began to get there on time and so I raced out of the office, paid for my insanely expensive parking spot and drove like a bat out of hell to work.
It was hot, and I was sweaty because I couldn’t really afford to tack on air conditioning prices on to my already crazy high weekly gas bill, and all I had was the toasty shift of wind that whipped my face with the stench of highway pollution.
When I got to work, I rushed through the back doors and clocked into my scheduled shift. I threw my badge on and walked to the section of the store where I was assigned to. We did our start of the shift meeting and I started grabbing go-backs to squeeze on the clothing racks.
“Hey you guys, what’s up?” I said to the girls when our shift manager walked away.
“I’m going to need you to start working on all of these go-backs over here while I get these,” said one of my coworkers who believes she’s in charge of everything I do.
“And I don’t want you to do anything else okay? I’m working on these. Ask me if you need any help.”
“Alright.” She kept rambling on and telling me what to do, and so I decided to just walk away while she was expelling her diarrhea-of-the-mouth all over my already stressed out mood. I hid in the clothes racks and goofed off for a while thinking to myself how I really never liked this job.
I wandered back to where my group of coworkers were gathered after a while and grabbed a few more items of clothes to stuff in random sections of the store.
“Hey. I never seen you here before. What’s your name?” The annoying girl said to this new coworker.
She told us her name and introduced herself before the annoying girl started spilling out orders again. The new girl and I were left to ourselves when the annoying girl realized that her friend just started on her shift. The girl barked out a few more orders and then wandered off to fold already folded clothes over again with her bff.
I overheard the new girl mention something about a lunch break that evening and was curious to see how many hours she was scheduled to work that day. I myself have only ever had four hour shifts that required no lunch breaks and couldn’t get more than a shift a week if I sold my soul to the department store devil.
“So how long have you been working here?” I asked the new girl.
“Oh just about a week or so.”
“Really, and how many times have they scheduled you to work?”
“About five different eight-hour shifts actually.”
I was livid. I had worked there well over a month and couldn’t even cover gas with the measly shifts that they assigned me.
“Wow. Umm, yeah, I’m quitting.”
“I haven’t gotten any shifts and here you go taking all of the Goddamn shifts.”
I left the conversation and walked over to the store manager who had led the shift meeting.
“I need to put in my resignation letter please.”
“Yeah, it’s as if I’m paying you guys to work here.” I explained my situation about how I was driving nearly two hours to get to this job that didn’t give me any shifts and I signed all of the papers that would give me back my freedom. I set up my departure on the spot so that I didn’t have to come back and work for a place that wasn’t really going to let me work there. I grabbed my last check and told the manager to send me the check for today in the mail and I was out of there.
I didn’t really think about it till later that I was jobless and without any income with a weekly gas bill to pay until I was inside my car looking at a tank that was lower than half empty and a nearly two hour drive back to my blow-up mattress on my uncle’s floor.
Maybe I should have found another job first.
I had no lunch, I was dehydrated and I had time in my second trip to the store to think about my confusing life. It was on my third run to the same store that day that all my problems that had been piling up made me snap.
“Can you go out one more time to get those again,” said one of the people in charge of the interns.
“ARE YOU SERIOUS?! ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS?!” I’m going to kill everyone. I said under my breath.
“Never mind! Never mind!” I saw her face shift into shock.
I didn’t want to hurt anybody because my angry mood so I set down my keys and angrily walked over to my desk to type on the computer I had to borrow because mine was dead and I left the charger at home. I really did try to have a better day that day, but some other force was turning the normally calm and chill Jasmine into a giant squid of anger.
I didn’t know if the universe, or whatever, was telling me to quit and saying that I shouldn’t be here in Los Angeles, or trying to put me through the ultimate test, and it was really making me crazy. I was a small town girl in one of the major metropolitan areas and I just couldn’t adjust.
I had just lost my job, I had no money, I had a growing gas bill, my second internship never reimbursed me for the overpriced parking, I was sleeping on a blow-up mattress on the floor, and I was so incredibly exhausted. I looked like I was on the verge of death and the Calvary wasn’t coming for me.
I thought about how all my internships were located in this big city and how I never wanted to live here, and it really put things into perspective. If I wanted to work in this business then I would have to drive in and around this area. Did I really want to do that?
But what else would I do? What else could I do? I didn’t know if I should continue on the path that I was moving. Life decisions would have to be made before I graduated at the end of 2012. I thought a job in showbiz could be something that I wanted to do, and that’s why I took this particular internship, but after talking with one of my fellow interns I wasn’t so sure.
“Did you major in communications?”
“No, actually, I got picked up on the intern website by the boss and was asked to work as an intern and possibly work my way up to being an onscreen host,” she said as I watched her eyes fill with excitement about the position she holds now. “My dream job is to be in front of the camera and get into entertainment and this was the perfect opportunity to do so.”
She spoke about the long and strenuous road trip she took with her boyfriend across country to move here and get this position and how thankful she was for the chance at living her dreams. I didn’t have an interest in this crazy life of entertainment like she did. And I thought to myself, what was I doing here? I really didn’t care about joining the ranks of Hollywood’s famous people, and here I was in a small Hollywood studio taking up someone else’s dreams. This other intern drove across country for this spot and I just stumbled into this by accident. I wasn’t sure why I was picked to be in this position, or how I really got here. I was confused about why I even applied at this point and how this will all play out in my future.
I packed up my things that day with the uncertainty of whether or not I should even come back. I couldn’t tell if I was just frustrated because I was just having a bad day or if this was a sign I should get out now and find something that I didn’t totally suck at in life.
I guess the rest of this summer is here for me to find out.
The brilliantly bold and golden ball was streaming its warm rays of light directly into my face as I drove down the overcrowded highway. I had my sunglasses on, the car visor down and in place, and a strip of tint on the very top of my car’s windshield but I was still incredibly blinded by the Southern California sunset. I watched it weave in and out of the passing trees and peak out in-between Los Angeles’ city skyline as I cruised down the 101, and it was then on my way back to my uncle’s house sliding swiftly into the slowly setting summer sun that I realized that my situation was shifting.
The few weeks of my internship were intense for me, but they were both evolving into something that was entirely more doable than the nonstop orgy of stress and confusion. The first internship, which was closer to my uncle’s house, was getting back to its normal schedule, but I had never actually experienced it due to my starting a couple of weeks later than everyone else because I was still in school. I had also gotten to know a lot of the other employees at the second internship, which was located more in the middle of Los Angeles, and I was finally in a place where I didn’t feel like I was going to [kill anyone] or find myself in [the most awkward of situations]. I was getting more comfortable dealing with the traffic and all of the strange turning lanes and complicated stop lights and I found myself not getting lost as much when I tried to find the nearest Target.
I had come to the realization that, if I was offered a job after completing the second internship, I would jump on the first chance that I got to weasel my way in there. It was the internship with more writing and creativity involved, and I absolutely loved how everything was going. I realized that the other internship wasn’t probably going to get me anywhere except for it just becoming another reference to name on my resume. It was becoming fun, and I loved the issues that they talked about when they filmed their online news show, but there was nowhere for me to go in that particular company as far as a job would go.
I was reminded of the real reason of why I was in this crazy city in the first place, and with that reminder (and with the extra time I had on my hands now that I didn’t have a job) I decided to start sneaking into Barnes and Nobles without paying for anything and start writing again.
Every Monday and Wednesday I would drive from my second internship and walk all the way around the store before sitting around the corner and into one of the seats where the Starbucks customers were only aloud to sit. When there weren’t enough chairs around the corner, and the only open one was located right in front of the cash register, I was forced to order the cheapest thing that they offered and type angrily at the small round café tables because I was spending money that wasn’t planning on growing anytime soon.
“Miss, can I get anything started for you?” a Starbucks employee would ask me.
“Oh, no thank you. Not right now.” I would respond.
I got terrible death stares from all the other patrons who had their large bubbling hot coffees sitting in front of their faces stuffed inside their newly bought copies of “50 Shades of Grey,” and I swear my area of the Starbucks’ floor was spotless before I quickly got up and left after avoiding death glares for an hour and a half.
I would have also went to the library if everyone and their mother wasn’t parking up and down along the street after spilling out of the tiny public parking lot right in front of the tiny library, and I wasn’t about to go to Los Angeles’ main library Downtown in the peak of traffic.
I was stuck with dodging baristas at the Starbucks inside the overly air-conditioned store until I felt like it was safe enough to go back to my air mattress. It was definitely a great opportunity to work on my cardio and build up my running endurance, and there was no way that I would ever get sweaty inside the bookstore that housed a miniature version of Antarctica.
The June Gloom had faded away making room for an incredibly hot summer and I was sweating like a dammed person in the bowels of hell as I sat hopelessly lost in my car. I was too cheap to turn on the air conditioning in the 100 degree weather, due to my lack of job situation, and I was a vegetarian on a mission to find a Baconator from Wendy’s.
The interns from the first internship took turns gathering lunch orders and picking up fast food dishes all around town for the individuals at the office. Some of the places were right across the street or just around the corner from the building, and many of the staff members ordering from those places had simple orders. They tried their best to order food from the same place so that the interns didn’t have to run around as much, but other times the interns were lost in a sea of lunch orders that were scattered over multiple neighborhoods.
I guess I picked the short straw for that day, because I was sent out to get a Baconator for one of my bosses.’ I didn’t know this until after I had gotten back from my journey, but Wendy’s was incredibly hard to find and that it took a while for all of the interns to know exactly where it was.
I jumped into my flaming hot vehicle and ended up lost for almost forty-five minutes in traffic trying to find the Wendy’s. I circled the street, where the incorrect GPS directions on my broken smartphone were taking me, and I was getting honked at from angry motorists because I was trying to look at the map on the screen. I was absolutely frustrated and I was trying my best to get lunch back to my hungry boss, but the pressure of not being able to find a stupid Baconator, the blazing summer heat entering my car from the midday sun, and all of the other thoughts about life that I was having and the confusion about what I was wanting to do with my life all flooded over me and drove to tears.
There I was crying in the middle of a busy street in Los Angeles unable to find a Wendy’s and already sort of missing my mom and sister because it has been awhile since I had been back home. I eventually found a spot to look up another Wendy’s on my phone and drove another twenty minutes in traffic to pick up a Baconator and bring it back to the office.
“You ended up getting the fries right?” said one of my fellow interns to me as I walked in.
I had to hold back even more tears as I realized that I had f#cked up the order. I dropped the Baconator on my boss’ desk and swiftly slipped out of his office before he realized what I had done or why I had taken so long getting his lunch. I felt defeated as I slumped back in my seat and on my way back to my uncle’s house, but when I got there my mood actually took a one hundred and eighty degree turn.
I drove home wiping away the dried tears that had streamed down my face and pulled up to the house. I was so upset with myself because I couldn’t even get a Baconator back to the office without completely ruining the order. I stuck my key in the lock that was on the front door and I solemnly dragged my purse and laptop inside.
All of the sudden my uncle’s kids ran up to me with bright smiles on their faces and hugged me as I walked into the door. I got tiny kisses from my young cousin and literally laughed out loud as he showed me his new dance moves. I was welcomed with delicious pesto pasta and conversation from my aunt and uncle, and it was then when all my thoughts about my stressful day fell to the wayside.
These people fed me and let me bum off of them in the house that they just barely moved into, and they listened to me whine about my silly problems involving grabbing lunch orders. They were always interested in what I was doing, and took the time to include me in their family gatherings, and often made me feel less homesick and incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to stay at their house for the summer.
I went to bed that night, obviously still concerned that I didn’t have a game plan about where my life was going, but glad that I at least had the opportunity to try and find all of this out with the home that was opened up to me for the summer. It definitely made my life easier—and it relieved a lot of the burden that came with me not having a job. I was frustrated about my situation; but I was blessed to be so.
I was getting pretty restless with the whole get up, merge into heavy Los Angeles traffic, go to one of two of my internships, and then come back home at the end of the day routine. It felt humdrum and repetitive and I really didn’t feel like this was my last summer vacation. At least that’s how I felt until my day out with a friend.
I accepted an invitation to maybe go to a museum for the afternoon since we were meeting up in the middle of the week. I gladly accepted and worked my way over a few city blocks after my second internship to where my friend planned on us meeting up.
We spent an hour or two getting lost in an art museum while pondering possible meanings behind the works and tried our best to sneak in a few pictures with our camera phones before leaving. We ended up leaving our cars parked illegally in the museum’s parking lot and walked down to a pretty cool vegan restaurant and ate the most delicious meals period. We savored juicy vegan meatballs, and drank their naturally sweet tasting passion fruit tea and tasty a grilled chicken to die for. We also saw a heftier Robert Pattinson look alike.
We ended back on the streets of the more “posh” sections of Los Angeles and looked around in shops that were charging an arm and a leg for half a sock to cover your boobs. We caught up on life and talked about meeting up for the rest of the summer when we stumbled on this really cool bar.
We walked inside and ordered drinks from this annoying human version of a Ken doll and chatted some more over a couple of beers while Ken fondled a shorter human version of Barbie. After about an hour of lounging around in the bar’s comfy chairs I looked down at my watch thought we should call it a night.
“Hey, are you ready?” I said after gulping my final sip of Stella.
“Yeah, let’s go find a bathroom first,” she said as she started to slip out of her seat.
I pointed to the two empty glasses sitting in front of us at the bar. “Are we going to pay for these?”
“Shhhh,” she got up and headed for the restroom.
I knew better than to get up without paying, but I also didn’t want to stay behind and guestimate the amount for both of our beers. I just got up and left shuffling close behind her till we reached the restroom.
“He never opened up a tab for us and then he got so distracted with that girl at the bar.”
“I kinda feel bad about doing that though.” We both washed our hands after using the restroom and then exited the door. I walked extremely close behind my friend as we swiftly made our way outside of the fancy bar, and then we laughed once we made it out and continued walking down the busy streets.
I’m not going to lie though; I was paranoid once I left the bar and kept imagining Barbie and Ken sprinting after us from the bar down the street. It probably took me a few blocks to calm down.
“I guess I can’t go back to that bar now.”
We walked all the way back to our illegally parked cars and drove out of the parking garage until we made it over to the pay station. I guess my friend said something to the guy at the pay station because when I gave him my ticket and a ten dollar bill for the five hours I left my car in the museum’s available parking, I received eight dollars back and a look that told me he knew where I really went that day.
I smiled and said thank you feeling good about the minimal amount of money I ended up paying for a day that should have probably been at least two to three times more expensive. And as I got on the freeway and drove back to my uncle’s house I knew that my last summer would be pretty cool.
We grew up dreaming about becoming fireman, policeman, doctors, and princesses and when it was our time to graduate high school, start our first jobs, and pick a major for college we all derped and freaked out. When it came to our deepest and darkest desires we all knew what we wanted, but when the big bad world came swooping down dumping several doses of reality all over our Power Ranger lunchboxes we were forced to be practical… and eat our veggies.
From the time I was eight I knew that I was going to write a book one day. At the same time, however, I was also planning on being a princess-astronaut-actress who occasionally sold her art at fancy galleries. The fact that I also wanted to rule the world was totally doable for me at the time, but of course I grew older and someone told me that was called being a Fascist dictator.
The innocent dreams about writing never went away even though that, at times, my chances involving a life of writing seem impossible. The Universe can definitely be confusing at times with the hints and nudges it gives to me in order to follow certain paths. They often don’t make any sense, and I just feel lost.
In fact, I had a really odd dream that involved me actually working with the boss of my first internship (we were also at Chuck E Cheese’s but I ignore that part). I woke up the next day and watched one of his videos on YouTube and at the end of his talk he mentioned that he was looking for new interns. I probably looked around the room for about a minute wondering if I was being watched, but I ended up applying for the position and obviously getting the internship after an abnormal interview.
I spent several weeks at the internship grabbing lunch orders and coffee in a world that I thought I would never be a part of, but in the back of my mind I could never figure out why I was actually there. I was always (even though it never showed) incredibly grateful that I got to meet all of these amazing and talented people, but without editing, filming, or acting knowledge I couldn’t think of a reason why I would actually really be able to help.
After randomly being pulled to be in one of the many videos that I spent about four years diligently watching every week, I was actually asked to write. I was obviously excited, not only to write, but also because I thought I finally figured out why I was really there. I went in my next scheduled work day ready to write stories, but at the end of the day it kind of felt like I failed.
I had written a bunch of unnecessary posts on links they weren’t using, and when I finally figured it out, the posts I had written after that progressively started to sound terrible. My chance at whatever I thought was going to happen swiftly slipped away, and the only thing I know for sure will be posted online is this post that I’m writing about the entire ordeal right now that I’m about to schedule for the next day.
I honestly would like to know if the Universe is playing a really horrible trick on me or if I misinterpreted my very random Chuck E Cheese dream. I’ll always be passionate about writing, that’s without a doubt, but I’m just really starting to worry if I’m wasting my time chasing a dream that was never supposed to happen in the first place.
All of this Chuck E Cheese talk has made me hungry. Dammit. Now I want pizza.
I was standing in a long line at Starbucks, and sort of staring at the strange hippie who was grabbing a hot cup of Tazo Tea, when I began to think about my next move. I watched her leave as the ribbons that were tied to the halo of flowers around her head fluttered about in the rush of the warm air that was promptly wafting in from outside. No matter how weird the city of Los Angeles was to me, I realized that the giant collection of—interesting people would give me more opportunities than heading back to the Central Valley.
The more upbeat life, where unprotected turning lanes littered the city and spending an extra half hour on the freeway was completely normal, was obviously going to have more job prospects as far as writing, editing and publishing went, but the cost of living was definitely higher. Granted I was in line at Starbucks, not for myself but for the people back in the office at my first internship, but I was seriously considering moving here permanently and stay where the action was.
I needed to find a neighborhood in the large area of Los Angeles and find a room to rent or a roommate to bunk with in an apartment if I wanted to continue living in this sunny SoCal area, but I wasn’t for sure exactly where the best place to live was. The majority of my internships and the jobs that I wanted were all in and around one side of the city, and my university sat on the other side, and the amount of cash I had was pretty limited.
I knew that I was only able to live in on-campus housing for the remainder of my time at school, and that after about three months I would get kicked out because I would have graduated and wouldn’t be taking any more classes. Staying with my aunt and uncle was obviously a great option for the summer, but it was insanely far from my campus and I didn’t want to continue bumming off of them and take up a room in their house forever.
I just felt like it was time for me to grow up and get a place on my own in an area that I could stay in for more than just a few months. So I pulled up Google maps one day and place-marked all of the cities that I thought I would probably frequent and then measured out the distance between all of them. I placed my finger at the center of the web of mapped and routed lines and read the city that was nestled right underneath my finger.
Well. That’s where I’m heading. I thought to myself as I closed up my laptop and climbed into bed. It was a totally random idea that could probably pan out if a freak rain of cash fell from the sky, but I was also completely broke with literally only a few dollars to my name ever since I quit my other job at the beginning of the summer, and I didn’t know anyone who would move out there with me to help split the rent.
For now Glendale was a pipe dream that would sit silently in the back of my mind while I tried to find a legitimate job that would work around my school and (unpaid) internship schedule. I would spend the rest of my summer shuttling myself all over Los Angeles interviewing for jobs, looking at places for rent and trying my best to move to Glendale just hoping for a chance to make it out here.
I found myself waiting inside of a fancy waiting room with plush brown couches and leather armchairs for one of the first of many interviews that I would have this summer. I held on to my resume and pulled my skirt down a little to look a little more professional.
“We’ll be with you in a moment Jasmine,” a small lady said hiding behind her massive desk. “The store manager said that she would be up in a moment.”
“Okay, thank you,” I responded.
I waited there for a about fifteen more minutes before a very tall woman with her hair slicked back tightly into a bun emerged and called me into the conference room. We exchanged greetings and then dove right into the interview.
I knew retail like the back of my hand. Every store was almost exactly the same so I wasn’t worried about nabbing the sales associate position in maybe the women’s clothing department or something. I answered the typical retail questions like a champ and really won her over until she took a better look at my resume.
“Umm, it looks here like you moved around a bit and had quite a few positions,” she looked up at me with her eyebrow raised. “Would you be able to stay here for an extent amount of time?”
I paused for a moment and realized that she was referring to the multiple retail positions that I’ve gotten and then quit a month or so later. I’ve literally only been at my longest retail job for two months before I moved on to another location. I was a little schizo to be honest when it came to sticking with jobs that didn’t involve writing, and I couldn’t blame her for not wanting to hire me for the position.
“I was thinking about placing you in the cosmetics department if I hired you on. Does that sound like something that you would want to do?”
I stared at her for a full twenty seconds. “Umm, I’m not really good with makeup and all that. I don’t know—I mean I barely figured out how to put on mascara a few years ago—I…”
I just kept rambling until she cut me off.
“Well there’s more to the position than makeup. There are also skin care products like lotions and moisturizers and such. It’s more about speaking with the customer and finding out what they need in order to help them purchase the product.”
I’m sure I looked incredibly confused when I tried to respond, but I was completely caught off guard with the cosmetics counter suggestion. We finished the interview on a very awkward note that involved a lot more staring, and glancing down at my terribly decorated list of retail positions, and I left knowing that I probably didn’t get the job.
That was one interview down. There’s probably a billion more to go.
I had, unfortunately, scheduled a phone interview during my usual commute to my second internship. They only gave me a few choices that either involved leaving the office to go answer the phone or canceling my other interview time slots in order to take the call. I had no choice but to figure out the time difference between Central and Pacific Coast time and then call my interviewer smack dab in the middle of heavy morning Los Angeles traffic.
I got in my car a little earlier that day (or at the time that I was supposed to be getting in my car) and I made sure that my phone was out and ready for me to grab and illegally use on the highway, but of course with my luck, my intended interviewer called me just as I was entering the dreaded 101/405 interchange.
I picked up the phone and greeted my potential boss on the other line, and after giving me some background about the company he asked me to speak a little bit about myself.
“So, this is my last year at the Univ—Oh God!”
I had swerved and narrowly missed a car attempting to cut me off from the next lane. Chaos ensued and I started to panic.
“Uh—yeah, and after my last year I want to wri—Oh dear!”
I now had first-hand knowledge of why talking on cellphones while driving was a bad idea, but I also couldn’t just hang-up the phone in the middle of an interview.
I steadied myself and gripped the phone tightly in one hand while I used the other hand to direct the steering wheel on the proper route. I then amazed myself with my coordination and multi-tasking skills and managed to mask my shrieks of terror and random road rage throughout the interview with polite laughter.
By the end of the interview my potential employer told me that he was, surprisingly, impressed with me and my resume and that he would email me about my application status in the next couple of days. I thanked him and hung-up the phone just as my car came to halt right behind miles of wall-to-wall traffic.
Why couldn’t he have called me right now when I wasn’t moving?
My interviews so far were not going well, although none of my interviews ever did, and I was starting to worry about whether or not I would ever get another job. And though Glendale was relatively close in distance from where I was, my chances of living there were actually really far off and out of the way. All I could do is just hope that my luck and this whole situation would quickly change.
I slid out of the office like a bat out of a cave and left my first internship that day dragging all of my work materials behind me. I jumped into my car, slammed my seatbelt buckle into the car’s appropriate orifice and quickly sped out of the parking lot and onto the street like the building was on fire. It was definitely my time to leave since I had been cramped in a corner inside the frigid confines of the workplace and basically just felt blah all day.
I thought back to my previous weekend withone of my good friends from college, and the conditions that I endured in the office felt even more like an urban jail cell. By that time, I was not even half way home and stuck in the usual Los Angeles traffic. Always busy and never lets up, to get anywhere in this crazy city you have to double your usual traveling time due to wall-to-wall madness. I figured that then was good as a time as ever to think back to my hike.
I rose off of my blow up mattress beating the sun that morning and slipped on my running shorts and tennis shoes. I took my time lacing them up, making sure that they wouldn’t come loose during the day, and then I found myself sliding out of the front door before anyone in the house woke up.
I got in my car and drove down the street to a gas station and pulled up next to one of the pumps. I let my thirsty car gulp the gas as I ran inside to purchase a small breakfast. By this time the early morning sun was hitting the back of the gas station’s convenience store lighting my path to the energy drinks and flavored coffees in the fridge. I grabbed a double shot espresso, and while waiting in line to pay for my beverage, I grabbed a packaged piece of banana nut bread and took out some cash from my purse.
I left the store after paying, partially consuming my mini breakfast, and jumped into the car ready for the adventure up ahead. My half-hour drive would take me winding through the mountains and onto the vast open land on top of a hill where my friend lived. I passed avocado and lemon trees, a group of horses, and an insanely happy dog before I stepped out of the car and greeted my friend.
We sat down for a chat and then immediately went outside for a hike through her property’s mountainous terrain. I stuffed my water bottle in my satchel and we left for our two hour trek through farm land.
Although the temperature rose until it was incredibly hot, the hike felt like a refreshing fall back into nature which was something that I definitely missed. We then ended our adventure by jumping into the pool and cooled off by playing Marco Polo with her two younger brothers.
It was all fun and games until the time came for me to get back into my car and make way back into the city, but for some reason when I drove away I felt as if I had left my heart back there without me in the fruitful and rural little slice of heaven.
I was obviously a little tired of the big city—but I still hoped that the city didn’t grow tired of me.
I had stepped out of my car that night wearing my long brown cardigan draped over a tank top and some shorts. I slid my card into the gas pump and shoved the nozzle into the gas tank. I was tired, confused about my life’s recent events, and I felt lost wondering about what the hell the universe wanted me to do, and as I tilted my head back in a sigh of exhaustion, my eyes rested on a giant billboard staring right back at me.
A bushel of apples sitting behind a jar of Mott’s apple product appeared incredibly massive as it perched right behind a flood of lights pointing up at it. It looked down upon me like it was the eyes of the universe watching over the tiny gas station. I couldn’t help but ponder for a moment about my life, my insane summer, or even just about all the crazy events that have taken place in the past week and a half.
I climbed back into my car after filling up and drove down past all of the last bits of civilization into the dark and vast canyon of what seemed like the abyss. The surrounding hills looked like deep shadows overlaying the already darkened night sky, and for a moment I found my mind also pummeling its way into an abyss of thoughts.
About two weeks ago I was just an intern panicking about trying to find a place to live before my college classes resumed. I was content with my minor life struggles, and I was fine with not knowing exactly what I was going to do. Fast forward two weeks later and I find myself an editor for Cal Poly Pomona’s Uloop writing an article that ends up getting published on the Huffington Post. That post obviously ends up getting seen by a lot of people, and random job offers start rolling in like the line at McDonald’s right before breakfast ends.
A whiplash of emotions has taken a hold of my mind and thrown it into the garbage disposal. People were secretly reading my writing and enjoying it, well established writers were complimenting me and telling me that my byline would be seen everywhere, but at the same time I was still a broke college student without a single clue about what was going on. I still couldn’t afford rent with all of my school expenses trying to rob me for whatever chump change I had in my bank account, and of course the usual young person’s drama still comes into my yard and hits me in the face with all its goodies.
I continued my path up into the winding and mountainous road as I thought deeply about everything. I had no clue where I was going since I was left in the dark, but I was still moving forward with the knowledge that in the end I was still chasing some sort of dream I suppose.
I grabbed my stuff, took the key to the office from my key chain, placed it on the desk and said goodbye to the other interns and the editor-in-chief, whose goodbye felt like it was the exact opposite of my goodbye with the production and operations manager. I turned back to wave goodbye to the operations manager and she waved me over for a farewell hug.
“Thank you for everything that you’ve taught me and for this wonderful time at this internship. I had a lot of fun,” I said as we both stepped back out from the hug.
Her eyes almost looked as though they were holding back a small flow of tears. “Thank you for helping us out, and if you ever need a recommendation don’t hesitate to ask.”
I walked out of the office myself suddenly tearing up at my final trip from the office of my second internship to my car, when it abruptly hit me that I was going to miss coming into the office and seeing her every other day. It was definitely bittersweet, since I now was able to spend my newly allotted time on my new paid internship, my last quarter of school and my many other new projects, but it was an easy decision to pursue new endeavors and leave the internship that had taught me so much and treated me quite well.
But of course the departure from my first internship wasn’t as smooth as the second.
I left the second internship after training one new intern that was supposed to replace three of us interns that were still remaining. It was then that all the flashbacks throughout the internship began to flood my head. I laughed at all of the good times that I had with my friends, who I wouldn’t have met otherwise without the internship, I looked back at all of the stories I had written for the popular internet show that my boss had created, and I thought about all of the craziness that the internship put on all the interns.
All of the random errands that led me into interesting situations, such as dropping off people and personal items at private residences, all while pouring un-reimbursed money into the gas tank, ran like a fast paced low budget sitcom in my mind. It certainly felt like my time during the internship fell out of a scene from the ‘Devil Wears Prada’ when I thought back to the more stressful days, but it also wasn’t all that bad.
Although the internship did take up quite a bit of my time and money, unlike the second internship where I was compensated for parking and I was inside before the sun started to set, it did end up introducing me to the online internship site that I used to apply to this internship with. Regardless of what influenced what, I was able to land a few decent paying jobs that involve social media and writing, including being able to be in charge of other students as an Uloop editor. I was able to have been published in the Huffington Post, which garnered more traffic on my blog, and because of the internship I was able to have had my face flashed before thousands of YouTubers (even if I’m still not quite sure how I feel about that yet).
I’m a strong believer in thinking that everyone has a purpose and that everything happens for a reason. We all may have not ended up with jobs with the companies that we have interned for this summer, but I’m sure we were all able to still gather knowledge about our respected businesses and make new contacts and friends in the process.
At the first internship an intern, who was asked to work her way up in the company to a host position, eventually got a job doing just that but with another company, and another intern was able to reevaluate his situation and try doing what he really wanted to do in the first place somewhere else. He eventually plans on returning to the big bad city with an incredible resume and will try his luck again with a new game plan.
I, on the other hand, still have three more months of school before I’m finally done with the journey toward a Bachelor’s degree, but I’m not as worried as I was before about not getting a job in my chosen field and settling down in someplace interesting, and I ended up sticking around in the place that I stayed for the internships during the summer in order to be around one of my new internships and my many upcoming projects.
I’m broke but I’m starting to do more than I ever have before and I’m slowly starting to make some money. I’ve come to terms with the fact that things aren’t all what they seem to be, even if the people that you’re working with are some of the best people on the earth. Sometimes you just have to step away for a bit. I still very much enjoyed my summer though, and in some crazy and weird masochistic way, I’m glad that I did this. I’ve met great friends, learned a lot, and found out how tough my car and I can be.
It’s obviously the end of these two internships, but it’s just the beginning of some even better things.