I moved back to Vancouver at the beginning of May 2010 and immediately started trying to land a job with an events company that I could learn from and benefit from their expertise and experience. I came across a job posting looking for event planning interns for a locally well-known event. Although the internship was unpaid, I thought that this might be a great way of getting the experience that I craved while making important industry contact so I applied.
A couple of days later, I got an email from the producer asking me to come in for an interview. Perfect. I went for my interview the next week and by the time I left, I had mixed feelings about the internship. Although the producer was very nice throughout the interview, his expectations of the internship weren’t based in reality. He wanted an intern that could work 35+ hours a week for 6-7 months. When I mentioned that I would need to take a 2nd job to earn some sort of income, he vetoed that immediately. His reasoning was that this event and internship would demand the full attention and time of the eventual intern. I believe in being honest and straightforward so I told him that while my priority was gaining events planning experience, I still needed to earn an income, especially over such a long period of time. He promised me that the opportunity was worth it due to the contacts and experience I’d gain. I left telling him that I would have to think about it.
I went home and did some digging on the company and the producer. Turns out, he has a very long track record of exploiting his interns. He also had a very bad reputation around town – both professional and personal. Once I learned that, I quickly thanked him for the opportunity to interview but told him the fit wasn’t great.
This experience taught me a valuable lesson. Since then, I’ve refined my goal to working for an established and successful events company. And, I’ve started doing my due diligence on potential companies. If you’re also looking for an events job, I would encourage you to do the same. There are so many events ‘companies’ that claim to be successful but only research will tell you if their claims are supported. Working for a disreputable company could do more damage to your reputation and career than any benefit it could ever give.