July 27, 2011

Legal Interning Tip #7

You control your own experience.

If you have been interning this summer (legal or not) and you haven't done this already, I urge you to take a moment to reflect on your experience thus far.  It can be so easy to get caught up in meeting deadlines and joking around with your coworkers that you may risk your entire internship going by without taking the time to think about what your goals are for your internship experience and whether they are being met.

Here are a few examples of questions you should ask yourself:
  1. What have I learned?
  2. What have I accomplished?
  3. What would I like to learn or experience, but haven't had the opportunity to yet?
  4. Where can I improve?
The answers to these questions should give you a rough picture of how you feel about your interning experience as a whole.  If you find that you are really happy with your experiences so far and are learning a lot, great!  But if there are aspects of your internship that you are unhappy with, now is the time to address them.  You have the power to control your own interning experience, whether it's through discussing what you'd like to do with your supervisor, working to improve your performance so that you will be the first to be considered for opportunities, or even just adjusting your attitude or approach to your work.

July 26, 2011

Recovering from Mistakes

Assuming you're a human being, you've probably had your fair share of err's in your lifetime and this human quality sadly does not go away once you land a job. Obviously, you'll want to keep organized, remain focused, and pay attention to details in order to minimize the number and severity of your mistakes, but from time to time, these things can happen. Don't Panic! You can bounce back with your reputation as a hard, dedicated worker firmly intact.

July 21, 2011

And One More Thing . . .

(How to Avoid Mental Overload at your Internship)

If you ask most engineers – be they sound guys or architects – about an aspect of their job, you better have a few minutes. Engineers, as a rule, tend to be passionate about what they do. This is why sound dudes are willing to work 14 hour days dealing with sweaty roadies in dirty venues – and smile about it. (It certainly ain't the great pay and health benefits.)

Unfortunately, it seems that the world at large does not share our collective audio passion. Our friends don't care. Our girlfriends certainly don't care – and they've long since stopped humoring us. There just aren't a lot of exciting stories that start out with, “So I adjusted the compression ratio . . . “

Point being, after all this rejection, you – the helpless intern – are our one outlet for technobabble. Our one true captive audience, listening with (ahem) baited breath. This is our chance to validate an entire career's worth of knowledge – be it 40 years on the road or four issues of EQ magazine – by proving to you that: We. Are. Experts.

Tough Interview Questions: How Many What?

Here's a question for you. It's extremely important and could mean the difference between a job or not. I need to know how many piano tuners are there in Paris? Right now. Oh, you don't speak French,that's too bad. I need an answer anyway.

So, what do you think? What's the answer? Don't Google, you can't do that in an interview. I'll post some tips for how to deal with this and other odd interview questions soon. In the mean time, tell us what you think.

July 19, 2011

The Line between Intern and Full-Time Employee

During my first internship, I remember wishing I could define that line between intern and full-time employee. I was always hesitant to disturb my manager and co-workers for fear that I would interrupt their concentration on an important project and it was even more awkward for me if two or more people were in the middle of a conversation.

Perhaps this was largely due to the fact that I'm a rather reserved person in general but over the past year I have noticed other interns expressing the same awkwardness when trying to communicate with their managers. Many of them sneak in, quiet as a mouse, and wait patiently behind their manager's back until either it looks like he's stopped working or he turns around and sees them standing here. Okay guys, as your friendly guide, I'm asking you that if this is your habit, please break it. It's a little creepy for those who think no one is behind them and suddenly they turn and see someone standing there. It would be better to gently announce your arrival with a polite knock on the door frame before you walk in, or a simple "Excuse me, Sir, do you have a moment?" (Replacing 'sir' with the appropriate way to address your manager. In my office, we're all on casual first-name basis). The worst thing that could happen is that your manager tells you now is not a good time. In such a case, simply go back to your station, and find something you can work on until your manager has a spare minute.

July 18, 2011

Mistakes You Might Not Know You're Making: Lack of Follow Up

Sometimes it isn't what you do that costs you the job, it's what you fail to do. Unfortunately, there are probably a thousand or more little things you can do to get turned down so I'm working on highlighting some of the bigger issues for you so you know what to avoid. The first part covered incomplete emails that lack key personal and contact information. I'd daresay many of you are guilty, so check that post out here for some tips.

Once you've sent a great email there's still something else you need to be sure to do: follow up. This means checking back in whether or not you get a response or not. People are busy and emails get lost in the shuffle so make sure you reply after a few weeks to see how things are going. Bonus points if you actually pick up a phone and try calling. Sure, it's possible a lack of response means rejections but it may also just mean the person hasn't had a chance to look at your message yet.

July 14, 2011

Copyright Misconception: You Can Post A Song With a Disclaimer

Putting a song that is not your own up for download is okay as long as you add a disclaimer.

I see this constantly, and I can't help but wonder if these people actually believe that adding these disclaimers will shield them from liability.  They look something like this:

"The tracks posted on this blog are for promotional purposes only. No piracy is intended. Please delete tracks no later than 24 hours after you've downloaded them and support the artists by purchasing their music if you like it."

These disclaimers are completely ineffective.  They do nothing.  It's like when someone says, "No offense, but...."  Are you any less offended because a disclaimer was added?  No.  Same here.  Placing a disclaimer somewhere on a pirated music blog or near any shared work not owned by the poster doesn't make the behavior any less infringing.

In fact, adding a disclaimer could actually harm any legal arguments you may have should you be sued.  Damages may be reduced if the offender is found to be an "innocent infringer," but these kinds of disclaimers imply that the poster knew what he or she was doing was wrong.

In short: just don't post copyrighted content online that isn't yours without permission.  There is no magical set of words that will keep you from being successfully sued for copyright infringement.

- Lauren
Email: lauren@internlikearockstar.com | Twitter: @Musicn3rd

July 12, 2011

What to Wear for the Summer Internship

It can get pretty HOT in the summer. So how do you keep cool, while still looking professional?

Luckily, most offices have air conditioning so you can continue wearing long pants and long sleeves without a problem. In fact, I find that the biggest problem is not keeping cool at work, but rather keeping cool during my commute, and keeping WARM at work! When it's 60 degrees inside and 90 degrees outside, it's difficult to dress for both. I find the best solution for this is to dress in layers during the summer. I often wear a tank top to work but I always keep my shoulders covered with a suit jacket (which I have in short sleeves, 3/4-length sleeves, and long sleeves). After work, I can then take off my jacket, and I'm ready for the summer heat.

July 08, 2011

Doing the Dirty Work As An Intern

I was ordering lunch today at a deli when I caught an interesting bit of conversation behind me. The man behind the counter knew the two men in line behind me and I noticed they were talking about interns. They were laughing and saying that the interns were back at the office doing all the work while they were enjoying lunch. The three of them continued laughing at this thought until one the men in line spoke up again. "I loved it yesterday," he said to his friend with a smirk, "when you said who wants to take out the trash and clean the desk, and I said 'the interns.' It was great." The two in line seemed so proud of themselves and didn't seem to think anything bad of the situation until their friend behind the counter replied with, "So, a bit of intern hazing go on?" Here the one who had told the story got a bit defensive. I guess it doesn't sound quite so good when you put it that way?

If you're shocked by this story you likely haven't had an internship yet, because in most cases these things are all just part of the job description. If I'd stuck around a bit longer to hear the end of tale I imagine the defendant's response would have been something about how everyone else in the office is too busy and it has to get done somehow (though maybe not, maybe these two guys were in fact just jerks). Sorry to tell you, that's both the truth and the way you likely need to learn to see it. Yes, someday you are going to be asked to get coffee, take out the trash, pick up dry cleaning, order food, send or sort mail, alphabetize CD collections, or some other menial task you just don't want to do and you will have three choices as to how you handle it.

July 07, 2011

Today's Life Lesson: Bring Ear Plugs with you EVERYWHERE

I took this blurry snapshot during this year's Independence Day celebration at Albany's Empire State Plaza. The dude in front of me says it all: Bring ear plugs.

I carry a little box of earplugs with me everywhere. It's smaller than a stick of gum, and it protects my ears from the 88-126 decibel blasts of American pride - not to mention power tools, vacuum cleaners, motorcycles, and boring people at parties. Beethoven may have composed music when he was deaf, but he'd have had a hard time sitting down behind a mixing board.

July 05, 2011

What Do Artist Managers Do?

Managers are, in a sense, kind of like some reality tv celebrities to those entering the music industry (metaphorically speaking): they seem to be everywhere but no one know quite what they do. They are, however, far more important than the random people gracing the covers of tabloids who are famous just for being famous. So what the heck do they actually do and why are they so important?

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