Interns Make Sense

September 3, 2009 at 7:02 am | Posted in Book Publishing, Perspective | Comments Off on Interns Make Sense

I am a big believer in the value of internship programs. In fact, my fifth intern started his program with Ocean Publishing this Wednesday and I am already impressed with his interest and ambition.

Intern programs benefit both the person doing the internship and the organization providing it. As most intern programs do not offer paid compensation, those willing to intern are clearly motivated beyond the allure of money. They seek learning and experience, and are willing to work for free in exchange for an education in the practical world of their chosen field.

My previous four interns all gained significant knowledge and experience by working in my book publishing house. Each of  them has shared that what they learned, both from daily education sessions and opportunities to use their creativity and brain power, gave them a greater sense of achievement  and confidence than they had imagined possible.

I think the key to a successful internship is to have a daily routine of teaching points for the intern. I spend 30-45 minutes at the start of every day talking about a different subject about publishing. I give the intern a personal notebook on the first day to use for all the materials I hand out and for notes made during the day. By the end of the internship, this very full notebook becomes a permanent reference for whatever direction the intern takes in his or her career.

In return for the daily education, I receive an incredible benefit from the intern. One of the best advantages for me is to have fresh ideas about everything we do. While we run our operation with certain systems in place, it is refreshing to have someone ask, “What if we did this differently, like maybe changing all of our paper to a greater percentage of recycled content?” This is invaluable for any organization which wants to remain vibrant and focused. Plus, interns can handle a wide variety of tasks if they are trained correctly right away.

If you aren’t now offering an internship in your business, do it. Young people will gain great knowledge and experience. And, as important, your organization will benefit in ways you have not yet imagined. All it’s going to cost you is a little time every day to share what you know about what you love — your business.


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