Earlier this month, we said goodbye to our Editorial Intern, Rachel, who contributed a couple of posts to the blog this summer on top of her other duties, which were legion. We made Rachel wrangle spreadsheets, read manuscripts, send nagging emails to the Library of Congress, send packages, arrange our library, cyberstalk prospective illustrators, fetch candy, transcribe marketing copy, make address lists, respond to Boxcar Children fan letters, and about five dozen other things. Eventually, of course, she’d had enough of us she had to return to college in Minnesota, but we asked her if she wouldn’t mind sending us a little piece on her impression of the publishing business as a final task.
She agreed, and last week managed to send us the piece below from her dorm room…
What I Learned in Publishing, by Rachel, former Editorial Intern
I attend a liberal arts college and, generally, students here have a distinct idea of what we think the “real world” (anywhere outside of our academic, rural confines) is like: harsh and unforgiving. It is a place where new ideas often cannot stand up to corporate interest and trends. Most importantly, it is a place that we are happy to avoid during our four years of undergraduate education. After seeing too many movies about sad characters “stuck” in an office job, ignoring their creative ambitions, I, too, internalized that notion of the cold, relentless, “real world.”
That is, until my first “real world” job experience: an editorial internship at Albert Whitman. Their “real world” was remarkably like my college haven. Creativity and innovation were encouraged. Smart people contributed their well-informed opinions to highly engaging discussions about books and, to my surprise, cared about my opinions as well. It seemed to me that their goal was, first and foremost, to publish good books. By merging these two worlds (“real” and collegiate) that I thought were polar opposites, my experience at Albert Whitman has allowed me to get excited about my “real world” opportunities.
And the second most important thing I learned this summer: How to work an office copier. A truly invaluable skill.
All of us smart, well-informed people here in the real world would like to thank Rachel for her help and opinions, and wish her luck with her courses.
(We’re taking applications for our next editorial intern, by the way, and are looking for an upperclass college or grad student in the Chicago area. A downloadable job description is available here. Apply soon! The real world beckons!)