What Motivates You?

Today, my internship supervisor asked me this question, just purely out of curiosity – no pressure intended.

This is a "thought bubble". It is an...

My mind when my supervisor was asking me questions… (Photo credit: Wikipedia)curiosity – no pressure intended.

I know it’s one of those job interview questions that it seems like every twenty-something on the job hunt should be prepared to answer. And if it was a job interview, I probably would have come up with something on the spot that was canned and stilted and not true to myself, but had to do with the job I was after. Typically, I’m that prepared sort of person, but I found that when I really, truly thought about this question, I had no idea.

What motivates me? I mean, I kind of know. I know when I’m feeling motivated to accomplish tasks. Deadlines motivate me, but that makes me sound like a procrastinator. Money motivates me, but that makes me sound like I don’t care about anything but getting rich. Grades motivate me, but what the hell does that matter after I’m out of school?

So seriously. What motivates me? What motivates you?

I’ve been thinking about this all day after I embarrassed myself at my internship by not being to articulate a response off the cuff. What motivates me?

I still don’t think I have an answer. In an attempt to help me solve this riddle, my supervisor started asking me more questions to try to narrow it down.

I thought I had the answer — success motivates me! But isn’t success one of those abstract concepts that is measured differently based on the person? By that I mean, the next question was “How do you measure your success?” (I failed epically – again.)

Even eight hours later, I’ve still got nothing! No wonder I have no clue where I want to end up in my career, or in my life!

So here’s my challenge to you all: Figure out what your motivation is, and then use it to help you identify what you have to do with your life to take advantage of that motivation.

Good luck. I’ll get back to you when I’ve got it figured out!


Keep Working Hard

Wow! I can’t believe I haven’t posted since March 24… sorry about that!

Anyway, I have to explain why — It’s actually pretty cool. It’s a lesson in sticking through the tough times and continuing to work toward your goals. I’ve been, and it’s finally paying off in a big way. Let me explain…

I got an internship! It’s not publishing related, but I’m okay with that, because it’s educational-technology-related! I’ll be interning this summer (read: starting now) at a company that coaches schools through the implementation of their own online learning programs! How cool is that?

The president of the company initially launched his model at a school in my area a few years ago, and it won an international award from iNACOL (International Association for Online Learning). INTERNATIONAL!

Now he travels all around talking about best practices in online education and helps school districts plan, design, and launch their own online programs for public school students. I’m so excited to start!

In other news, I’ve also become a more frequent contributor to the newspaper I’ve been freelancing for — also cool. I still work at my college’s library.

And finally, I got a long term sub position (which ends next week, so expect more activity then!) to add to my resume as well! Talk about a busy time!

It’s just insane how life works sometimes. This time last year, I was about to graduate from college, my father was facing open heart surgery at 48, and I was really quite depressed. I had nothing except my summer job that I’d been working since freshman year (which I will not be going back to this summer, due to the internship!) and I was getting turned down for full time work left and right.

Now I feel like my options are pretty limitless. By that I mean that I have opportunities in all three of my career fields of choice — all that’s left is to pick one and make it happen!

So to anyone out there who’s feeling a little less than optimistic about your situation at the present moment, just hang in there. Good things really do come to those who WORK for them!

Interning in the Publishing Industry

NYC Skyline… pretty, isn’t it?

I’m soliciting opinions here. I’ve recently decided that I’d like my career to move more in the direction of publishing. Of course, right now my only real publishing experience is in journalism, but that’s better than nothing, right?

So in an effort to learn more about the industry, I am contemplating applying for some internships at literary agencies and publishing houses this summer. I know that most publishing internships are unpaid and are more about the experiences you have as an intern, and I’m okay with that. I live within a commutable distance of NYC, and I noticed that many publishing houses have programs where interns telecommute and only have to make limited trips to the physical offices.

Of course, if by some miracle I managed to get an internship that does pay, I would be willing to rent an apartment in the city for the four months of summer and can afford to do so.  I’ve always wanted to at least try living in NYC, even if I end up hating it. That way I can at least say I did it once!

My question for you all today is this: Anyone with publishing industry experience, what are your recommendations for places to intern and why?

Right now, with the light research I’ve done (I’m very early in the process… I first needed to make sure this would be a feasible option for me this summer!), I’m liking Levine Greenberg Literary Agency. I’ve heard great things about the place, and I found the names and contact information for some former interns (they don’t call me a journalist for nothing!) that I was thinking about getting in touch with to ask about their experiences there. Is that a good thing to do, or would most people prefer not to be bothered?

I’m really open to anything. Essentially what I want is a learning experience, first and foremost. You know, just something to put on my resume that says, “Hey, this girl has some experience so she probably knows what’s she talking about!”

Any and all advice or comments are entirely welcome. Most of my experience lies in the journalism end of the publishing world, so I would really appreciate any tips or tricks. Thanks!