A rather late update: Feb. 26, 2015
So as the last post says I HAVE MOVED TO LONDON. I have been here for almost two months and I still can’t believe it. I get up, look outside and say to myself, “You’re in fuckin LONDON, man!” It’s a place I never thought I’d really be living in. Well yeah…it’s pretty cool. I had the task from my program manager to write three stories to reflect on my journey so far. These aren’t really stories per say…more like just phases in my journey into internhell. Internhell is the place interns spirits go to die. I have had a journey to say the least. I just want to make it clear that within the advertising/creative industry and working as a creative/designer it is important that one has a place that is nurturing to the creative spirit and that is something that takes precedence over most other things with me.
Phase One: The Waltz
I had found my internship placement in November when Sam Zelaya and I came to visit London with the sole purpose of finding awesome agencies to develop our talents in. London is an amazing city, it’s vibrant and exciting and it had been a really long time since I had felt that gut deep feeling of frenzy from being surrounded by millions of busy individuals out and about. I had several interviews set up and was really excited to get to know these agencies and see which might fit me best. I had talked with Breed & Craft, a small advertising agency that was desperate to take on someone with design focus, they had a CD that was taking on other projects and would only be part time soon. I had the desire to take on the responsibility and really dive deep, learn how it really is out there. So I took it on…and I was stoaked.
I called so many places; embassies, and border controls, even migration control in Sweden to make sure I could go. Booked my ticket, got on the plane, got to the border…and was held. They did an investigation and I was searched about 74 times. It wasn’t like I was a drug lord or terrorist but whatever…I was put into an armored vehicle and driven to a ‘holding facility’ *ahem-practically-jail-ahem* and had to wait for about 20hrs until I could fly back to Copenhagen. It was hell and it was just the start of this journey.
It turns out all the information I was given would pertain to many countries in Europe but the UK isn’t a part of Europe so I was screwed into having to get my visa. Once back in Sweden, I started the process of getting my visa. I talked to an old mobile Hyper, Kaan, who had to go through the same thing. He told me about an organisation that will sponsor it, act as a middleman for me and the UK Home Office. It took 6 weeks, about 12 documents and 7500 SEK to finally get it all.
So the first step was done. Well, it felt more like 1 step forward, pushed back 2 steps and then hoping 3 forward again. Instead of a beautiful waltz into my future, I was clumsily tumbling into it.
Phase Two: Tiptoeing
Once I did get to London there were a lot of personal things to overcome. I was emotionally tired and frustrated by the first stage of my internship and just wanted things to go smoothly, I tried planning every aspect of my life. Just so that I didn’t feel like I was losing control of it again. I realize now that that really affected how I was a work too.
I knew I would be quite stage 1, coming into a new environment and trying to understand my place within it. But the CD I was told would be part-time, was gone and I honestly had NO GUIDANCE. Looking back on it I should have talked up a lot more about it but I kept thinking to myself “Nila, you’re a big girl, you can deal with this.”, “Just figure things out.“, “You asked for this responsibility.” and that wasn’t helping my situation. I felt like I was tiptoeing to keep in with an agency I was learning I didn’t even like. It got me really depressed and I couldn’t see a way out of it than changing where all I was, finding another agency.
After talking to several classmates about how their experiences were going I realized I wasn’t getting enough work, nor was I in a creative environment, nor did I have the support to develop myself. I started looking for other places to contact about placements there. My agency had realized it too and one morning while I was sick at home I get an email saying they are terminating my contract and I don’t have to come in for the rest of the month. Ummm what the fukk?? In their email (A FRICKING EMAIL) they said it’s because they don’t have the staff nor the projects to keep me actively working, all of which I had already noticed. And when I did have a meeting with them about the termination I asked them a question they couldn’t really answer. Why had they taken me on, if they knew they would have no supporting staff and no work for me? Why hadn’t they said something before I got here or even in January didn’t they let me know that they couldn’t support and take me on? Well, apparently they didn’t know. They didn’t know it would change so drastically or that I would need as much support as I would.
…What? HA! Are you kidding? I asked for an INTERNSHIP. Which is what a student or someone with relatively little experience takes to gain that experience and insight. I was more pissed about that. But it wouldn’t have been a good fit for me anyway. I need a place that isn’t so…cold. Not just temperature wise but the work culture and their structure just wasn’t for me. Also they worked a lot with bought media and pushing ‘amplified videos’ which I’m not into.
I’ve learned three things from this:
Talk up when you are feeling uncomfortable and unsure, even at stage 1 honesty is the best policy.
I am extremely user-centric and when businesses try to sell things to audiences as if it’s the 1990s and their consumers are dumb, it frustrates me and then my enthusiasm to work plummets.
Culture is extremely important to me. As a creative, I need to be surrounded by people who are passionate about what they do and an environment that nurtures creativity and innovation.
Phase Three: Finding the Fire
So now, I am contacting other agencies. I had an interview at AnalogFolk with Ben and we are trying to get them to take us on a creative/design team and I’m super hopeful. But learning from the past couple months, I am making backup plans B, C and D. I’m contacting different agencies in London and if I haven’t found anything by the 10th I’m heading back to Sweden (since it will be hard to live here unemployed) and working on finding something there, in Copenhagen or somewhere else relatively close. Or possibly in the States somewhere.
This time in London has been okay but my internship journey has been a bit disheartening. I am finding it hard to find the passion in being here. But I’m trying, I’m always trying to find that fire I know is in me. I know I need to get my head on straight and buckle down, but I have been going through a rollercoaster of emotions. Some days I am on my game, I can focus on things and get them done without a problem, I’m hopeful and excited about which way I’m going in the future. Otherdays, I can barely get out of bed, I can’t focus enough to do basic things and I feel like giving up. I know it’s just depression, I’ve gone through it before, but it’s still something I’ve struggled with. I know that things will work out overall and I need to focus on the bigger picture, but it can be difficult.
I had come so far and I feel like I’ve been knocked down a few pegs and now I’m trying to climb up out of the dark back to where I was. Maybe someday soon.