The company I’m completing my internship at is pretty new, and as a result they are learning just as much as I am. If I’d only realised this sooner, I would have saved myself a lot of stress!
So last Friday I finally received my tasks and targets, to find that on top of running the social media account, I had to research and write three scripts for the online music channel. Now a script is made up of 5 shows; i.e. Pop, Rock, RnB & Hip Hop, Afrobeats, unsigned etc. Each show should contain 10 stories about musicians in the relevant categories.
This sounded like a lot when I started, but I thought, ‘It must be do-able, I wouldn’t be given the task otherwise’. Luckily, my first show to write for was Pop. Pop, as you can imagine, is pretty easy to find stories for because it’s pretty much celebrity news. I wrote about Miley Cyrus in the VMAs, Lady Gaga arguing with Azealia Banks, Example being abducted by serbian gangsters, and another 10 stories. It took me 2 days to finish.
In my mind, I started fretting. I was meant to be doing three shows a day, but just one had taken two days. I even stayed late to try and finish it off, and also I tried taking it home to finish off – by my brain was frazzled by that point. On Wednesday, when I had calmed myself down, I checked the word count for the Pop Show. It was 1,700 words. And I was meant to write three of these per day?! That would be about 5000 words every day! But when I checked with the two other interns how much they had done, theirs were also around the 1,500 mark. With research, it worked out that I was supposed to be doing 22 hours work per day, where I spent 10 minutes per story researching and 5 minutes per story writing.
By this point, I’d convinced myself I’d read my tasks and targets wrong, not even the best writer could do 5000 words a day, with research. It must be three shows per week?
But when I checked my tasks and targets, my original understanding of them was right. Fuck.
As it happened, yesterday my boss asked me to have a chat about how my first couple of weeks had been. He congratulated me on how well the twitter account was going since I’d started running it (to be fair, I’ve gained them 1,000 followers in 2 weeks) and we talked about social marketing strategies. Then he asked how I was doing with the research and script writing side of things.
It was scary. I had massively underperformed on the researching side of things. I mean, to write three 1,500 word shows a day didn’t even seem possible. It was a target I felt I would never reach, based on the work I’d done this week. Everyone else seemed to be doing ok. I couldn’t admit that I was so far behind.
But I had to, I knew there was something wrong, whether it was with me or the system. So I told him how impossible my tasks seemed.
To cut a long story short, he listened. Now I only have to write 3 shows per week, as opposed to per day.
I’m so glad I said something. I don’t know if they realised how much work it was to produce that amount of shows, because I don’t think anybody had tracked the word counts of these things. But now it’s sorted, I feel so much happier, like a weight has been lifted. And it’s definitely given me the confidence to speak up.
This whole thing taught me that just because I am experiencing a problem, doesn’t mean I am the problem.