Monday, 27 September 2010

In the name of employability

I‘ve been an intern now for a few weeks, and so far I’d say it’s been a positive experience. For the most part, I enjoy the work. It’s occasionally a drag to spend the afternoon doing the filing, photocopying and general grunt work that no one else wants to do, but then that’s the way it goes. That aside, I do get to do some interesting work for the most part. There have been some really interesting aspects to the work I get to do, even if it is necessarily at the lowest level of the legal chain. In fact, there are a few cases that have hit my desk that have got me really involved. It must be my liberal sensibilities bubbling to the surface after having been shoved down so deep during the BVC. I’ve even had a few late nights when the pressure has been on and I’ve found myself willingly staying to get the work done.

I have found a few intricacies of office politics a little trying at times, though I do generally enjoy the environment. The fact that I work another job around my internship hours has left me a little worn down and on edge at times. Between the long hours and crippling financial instability, it’s good experience for the Bar.

This isn’t all just being done out of the goodness of my heart. Doing a nine-to-five for free is something that can be a little bit of a bitter pill to swallow at times, particularly when a heavy load of filing heads my way. I know full well that even a minimum wage job would leave me at least more financially sated, even if not intellectually. The point of an internship is the experience I get; both to enhance my CV and in terms of real tangible skills. There is nothing like actually having to deal with an incredibly difficult client repeatedly to hone your people skills. Learning the polite way to say “sod off, I haven’t got anything new to tell you since you rang 5 minutes ago” is a skill that I will carry forever. Believe me when I say that’s no exageration.

It’s no secret that right now work is hard to come by, particularly criminal paralegal work. Without experience and Police Station Accreditation, it seems impossible to get a foot in the door. However, the experience I gain is one reason why I drag myself up at 7am every day even though I know I could make much better money working full time.

So, would I recommend it? In short, yes. Of course not every internship will be a good experience. We’ve all had the work experience that has been making the coffee and doing the filing. There are some amazing opportunities out there that are genuinely worth the time and effort, and mine has fortunately so far been one of them.

Though I can make a mean cuppa.