What I Learned From Quitting Two Internships in Two Weeks

Yup...you read the title right. I quit two internships within two weeks. Back in October, I accepted a winter/spring six month internship position at a PR agency. By late December-early January, I was already starting to feel like this internship wasn’t for me. I was doing a lot of PR “backbone” work. A lot of tedious, annoying, office work that I really was not enjoying. Yes, I know I’m an intern and I should expect some of that, but I also was very suspicious about the company culture. These people seemed to always be working into the long hours of the night. They seemed like they were constantly stressed and unhappy. After a while, I myself was constantly stressed. The work was EXTREMELY fast paced and I always felt like my work wasn’t fast enough or wasn’t good enough. I would typically cry once a week. 

Then one day, that was it. I called my mom crying and told her I couldn’t do it anymore. The work was not satisfying at all and it was too stressful for me. I had started looking for other opportunities and by January I had gotten a few interviews and offers. One was at a lifestyle/fashion agency. The other one was at an arts magazine. The thing is, the fashion agency told me in the interview that they were looking to hire somebody full time in the near future. Now me being me and being a second semester senior, I heard the word “job.”  I didn’t read into the job description too much and said yes. I told the other agency that I would be leaving and said no to the magazine. 

The next week, I started at the fashion agency. By the end of week one, I was already crying, because guess what? I was doing the exact same work that I did at the other agency, but the company culture was even worse. It was the first week and I already felt like the people were a bit condescending, and that this was going to be highly stressful with school. I was so upset. I wanted to like this internship so badly. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t keep going on with this all semester, nevermind get a full time job with it. It was really going to screw with my mental health and my schoolwork. So after talking to my advisor and career counselor, I made the decision that I needed to quit. 

If you know me, you know I hate quitting things, because I’m a pretty dedicated person.  But sometimes, you have to do what’s best for you.. Everyone says “your first job won’t be the best” and  “a job is a job”, but after these experiences, I really don’t know how much I agree with that. How can someone keep doing a job that makes them absolutely miserable? (Obviously, I  know that everyone does have different circumstances so I can’t speak for every situation). In my case though, I flat-out made the wrong choice. I should’ve interned with the magazine, because I know for a fact it would’ve made me so much happier, because that’s what I always liked to do; write. I did not listen to my “gut feeling” and it really backfired. 

I honestly have been really upset with how it all had to go down over the past week and have not been in a great mood. I keep thinking to myself; “What’s wrong with me? Other people I know love agency PR, it must be my fault.” And I think in a way, it is me. I am just not cut out for agency work. I’m a sensitive person, and I cannot handle that high intensity and stress every single day. I also don’t want to feel like I am doing office work constantly and that’s what it felt like to me. But now, I feel as though I’m at a bit of a crossroads. The thing is, agency jobs are the easiest to obtain in the media (because they are rough), and I was taking them because of that. The other jobs, the stuff I really like (editorial/writing stuff) are so much more competitive. So I find myself now asking myself what I really want to do. The problem is, I just don’t want one of these jobs that everyone else has. I like to be in front of people. I like to be creative. So I feel stuck because now I am a few months away from graduation, and I really don’t know where to go from here. But honestly, if there’s anything I learned, it’s that I’m SO GLAD I found this out now instead of applying to jobs in the future in the agency setting and finding out then how much I hate it. Even though it’s been really hard, I guess that’s what college and internships in general are all about; finding what you like and what you don’t like. I know that something good will happen for me eventually, I just need to keep on looking.