Working at Woman’s Day is kind of a deja vu scene for me. The last time I was there, it was the summer of 2013 and I was working in the health department as an American Society of Magazine Editors editorial intern.
Now I’m working in the food department while their associate food editor is on leave. It’s completely bizarre (and awesome!) to be in the same environment – I feel like I’ve grown so much as a journalist and a person since my original time there, and so has the magazine. Here are some things I learned during my first week.
- Love your planner – real or virtual. Working a “real job” – even in the same magazine – is a whole new world compared to interning. I had a lot of responsibility as an ASME intern. However, this job is pushing me to grow and expand my skill set faster than I ever thought possible. I feel like I’m learning about food journalism at the speed of light – and it’s freaking awesome. College can’t even begin to prepare you for the thrill that is real working life – and even though interning scratches the surface, I’m only just now starting to feel like a real journalist. And it’s a great feeling. (When the schedules seems like it’s flying by, it’s especially important to keep track of due dates and deadlines – the Google Calendar app is a super handy way to stay organized.)
- You actually use some of that weird knowledge you thought you never use again. All those classes you thought you would never use again? Surprise – you’re using those skills! (Seriously.) I spent my freshman year as an indecisive business major, and used a heck of a lot of Excel. When I made the decision to leave the business school, I moaned that I would never use those accounting-related spreadsheet skills again. But it turns out it wasn’t completely useless – spreadsheets are a godsend when you’re keeping track of contacts, stories and research.Thanks, business classes! (Here’s a great resource if you’re unfamiliar with Excel.)
- Slug (title) everything you create to find it later. There’s nothing worse when you can’t find a file you worked so hard on – so try not to let that happen by creating a file system that works for you. Bonus points if it’s easy enough for your co-workers to understand. I like making files for general categories, then sub-categories, and then I list documents by date last edited, and save different versions in case I need to go back to an earlier date’s text. It’s not time-consuming to hit “save as” and drag and drop into a new folder – and it’ll save a heck of a lot of time later. If your background isn’t in journalism or publishing, “slug” might be a little confusing – it basically means titling every file with some descriptive label and the date. Sometimes it includes the author (you!) but every publication is different. This article from The New York Times has a great brief history on the lingo of slugs.