I’m hoping that the COTH members, with their collective professional wisdom, can help me make a good career choice.
Here’s some background info on me: I graduated from my undergrad in 2008 with a degree in media communications and advertising. I then did seasonal job thing for a few years; worked as a wrangler during the summer and at the ski resorts during the winter. Basically doing absolutely nothing to further my career. I decided to go back to school and am in my second semester of getting my Master’s in Literature. I’m 24 years old.
I was planning on working at the ranch again this summer (my forth season there!); I have my contract signed and everything. Just yesterday, however, I stumbled across a job posting for an internship position at Horse & Rider Magazine. It seems like a great internship that would combine my personal and professional interests: writing, marketing, AND horses? Yes please.
BUT it isn’t paid. I rely on the money I make over the summer (about $10,000) to keep me and my horse afloat for the rest of the year. I also get free board for my beastie during the summer months, which is really nice. I have enough money saved up to not have to work for the summer, but it will basically deplete my bank account.
Aside from the money thing, here are some of my considerations:
1) Is it a huge professional no-no to go back on my contract with the ranch? They are like family to me, and I’d like to think they’d be happy for me if I got the internship, but I can’t say for sure. I’ve worked there for three years and would hate to lose that reference. Besides, I wouldn’t want to disappoint them.
2) I LOVE the ranch. LOVE working as a wrangler. This is probably the last summer I’d be able to do this, and I don’t know if I want to give up a summer of pack trips and mountains for office work.
3) And I know this is a silly consideration, but it’s still a factor: I’ve had an on and off again thing with a boy who lives near the ranch. It’s been inconsistent since we’re both in school and haven’t had the luxury of pursing anything. He’ll be out of school this May though. I don’t know where this is going, but I feel like this summer would be The Summer to Decide.
Do I spend the summer living it up in the mountains for one last I'm-young-and-can-still-do-this-because-I-don't-have-responsibilities-yet hurrah and make some money now but will never lead to a real person job later OR do I take the internship that amazingly combines my personal and professional interests and will potentially lead to a job with the only real equestrian media conglomerate?
Any thoughts or advice? I haven’t applied to the internship so it’s quite possible I won’t even get it. I just feel that if I apply, and they do offer the position to me, I should say yes. It might look bad if I try to get a job or internship there later on and my files say I rejected an offer from them before.
Thanks for weighing in and sorry for the lengthy post!
Do I spend the summer living it up in the mountains for one last I'm-young-and-can-still-do-this-because-I-don't-have-responsibilities-yet hurrah and make some money now but will never lead to a real person job later
This. Hands down. There will be a lot of people who will tell you it is time to grow up and that you need to make the 'responsible' choice to tie yourself down with the ball and chain. Don't listen to them. There is plenty of time for you to get a 'real' job later.
You are in school, working on a Masters and this position allows you to make money to support yourself through school. I'm guessing Horse and Hound will be around for a long time. So, while you are enjoying yourself, maybe figure out how to make a contact & H&H so when you are ready, you have a path to follow into that organization.
I agree.....there will always be job openings somewhere in the horse magazine world. Your summers of experience might even be a good thing when you do go for one of those jobs. Your summer job pays to keep you and horse alive for the year while you further your education (and that will make you more attractive as a potential PAID employee in the future).
You don't have any internship or other related job in hand. There are also many paid positions. It usually takes time and many applications to actually secure a position. If you are really going to PAY to intern, find the best possible position.
You do have a job that pays some nice money (esp. compared to a volunteer position). There are many "do overs" in life. This might not be one of them.
If the job is really like a family, they should understand that you have to make the best career decisions for yourself. But timing is key...do they have enough time to fill your position with someone as qualified? And on the flip side in family-like positions, how you show integrity and honor for the position they offer you is also very important. If it's a illness or family emergency, making changes is more understandable.
My 2 cents:
Spend another magical summer. I was lucky and got to work as a river guide in the Grand Canyon out of high school. Putting off college was the best choice. Enjoy the amazing position you do have. Once you decide to start in a career, fully focus on it. It often takes lots of energy, research and luck to land a position -- paid or not!
I always tell our interns that they should follow their heart until they're 30. There's plenty of time after that to get slogged down in a real job with a real mortgage and a real car payment.
Yes. 30 is perfect. There is nothing stopping someone before then from starting to put a little money in a Roth IRA to get the ball rolling on that. Even a very small amount benefits you because you started young. But everything else can wait.
Unless you meet Mr (or Ms) Right. Then all bets are off.
I say go to the ranch. An unpaid summer internship does not impress me as being particularly important to your career. In some industries, unpaid internships are often not very exciting. One of my daughters ended up moving furniture for the office when she did an unpaid internship with a biomedical research group.
What are you doing during the school year to make your credentials impressive? A masters degree is nice, but I suspect you should be doing something during the school year to make yourself more marketable. Are you involved in any projects for a local paper? Are you getting a teaching certificate so you can teach high school literature while you are figuring out a career? Talk with someone who is in the business to figure out a good strategy to make yourself marketable. Maybe you could write a weekly column for a local newspaper or a travel publication while you are working at the ranch.
I agree with everyone else. Finsih what you have started (its a good thing to DO in life), go to the ranch. Let them know this will be your last year, leave on good terms. Finish your Masters, then take an internship. There will be MORE avaliable for you. These are GOOD HABITS to learn NOW and keep throughout your life. The internship at Horse and Rider sounds great but staying "on course" is better
Well, 30 is as good as any and there can always be exceptions...but, at some point, thought must be given to supporting oneself with no parental aid/backstop with an eye on the future as that clock keeps ticking.
I vote ranch but...why not talk it up with the guests more? You might meet people who can help you later. Not suggesting asking for jobs, just get to know your guests and let them get to know you.
You never know.
Oh, Horse and Rider (not Horse and Hound) and Practical Horseman as well as COTH advertise for interns almost every year. It is not that big a deal. Certainly not worth chucking the 10k you will EARN for a summer in the Rockies versus paying to be an intern at a specialty magazine with limited circulation.
When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.
Oh, Horse and Rider (not Horse and Hound) and Practical Horseman as well as COTH advertise for interns almost every year. It is not that big a deal. Certainly not worth chucking the 10k you will EARN for a summer in the Rockies versus paying to be an intern at a specialty magazine with limited circulation
This. They seem to ALWAYS be advertising for interns - and if you have a job that's going to pay money for you to live off of, that is probably more worthwhile for right now - in this economy I would not deplete my savings to take an unpaid interning job at a horse magazine.
Apply for the internship. If you get it, make the decision. If you don't get it, decision made for you and you'll never be answering the 'what if...'.
If you do get the internship, well, then you have some choices- including the option of saying you did get it, but turned it down in favour of a salaried role. It will also give you some good contacts there. By the time you've been through the interview process you'll know some people there. You can turn down the role but say you'd love to write an article about ranch life or whatever, keep in touch with them and you never know what will come out of it.
I'd also do both for now just to cover your bases... is the ranch definitely doing well enough to have a full booking this year? I'd have a chat and say that you've been offered the internship but you think you'd rather be with them - see what they say.
If and when you are looking for internships, consider a marketing internship with AQHA. The experience is excellent and the people who work for the association are absolutely fabulous. They offer three internships throughout the year that line up with school semesters (Fall, Winter/Spring, Summer).
Go to the ranch, especially as it may be your last time. There will be other internships, other job-related opportunities. This coming from someone who's been grinding away in a newsroom for a decade, trying to get to a bill-free point where I can walk away and find something fun, or at least a little more meaningful.
Originally Posted by Velvet
Why is 30 the magic number? Why ever bother to grow up? Why not be Peter Pan? Who are you harming--as long as you dont' have kids and a spouse, you are free to remain unemcumbered by a mortgage, etc.