Interning and volunteering has been a big part of my life for the last few years.

When I saw this article on the Forbes Woman Facebook Page , it really got me thinking.

” Is interning the new networking? With more people out of work, middle aged interns are becoming more and more common. But is it a foothold into a new career or an exercise in futility?”

The above is quoted from the Forbes Woman Facebook Page.

This subject is something that comes up in many conversations related to success.

The word ” intern” has a negative connotation. You imagine some geeky kid, with suspenders running back and forth with a coffee in his hand, panting and stuttering in front of his boss.

Interning is the little black dress. You have to have one. It is a stepping stone, it will change with the shoes.   Intern jobs are just a palette like that little dress.  A step in the door, you can then change them with your new experience. It shows people that you are trying. You are willing to learn.

I am grateful to everyone who let me intern for them, I learned something from every person.

I learned from….

Blogs and Websites: The blogs that let me contribute blog posts for free taught me how to write, gave me incentive to write, how to work on deadlines and how to get new fans.

I volunteered at cooking classes: The cooking  instructors who let me do their dishes after a class, gave me free classes, taught me how to make new things, gave me opportunities to talk to famous chefs and gave me the opportunity to interact with other food people.

I volunteered at annual food events and festivals: I got to be part of the events, have an excuse to network, eat food and get in for free. I also made friends with people who have  become my close friends ( best time to talk is when you are cleaning up after hundreds of people).

I interned in schools teaching classes. I got to meet kids, to shine as a teacher, to change people’s lives. Later I became a teacher too.

The truth is that to network efficiently and acquire skills you have to volunteer or intern. You have to work to get where you want to be. Most succesful people have interned or given away free services, they have networked through these connections. They have given away free blog posts and taken photos for free . In the end , they get credit, which builds their portfolio. They get new readers, new followers and most of all, they share their passion.

How can someone see your passion shining through your work and not want to work with you?

Opportunities are everywhere, don’t walk past them.

Written by franticfoodie

I am Keren Brown (note: Keren with 2 E's). I love living in Seattle, I think the weather here is fabulous and spend my days writing, organizing and planning food events. Read about Seattle food events, recipes or just immerse in the food obsession. Check out my other blog in the Seattle PI http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/franticfoodie/

6 comments

  1. I’d say that a motivated intern is a great asset to any business. Any big kitchen needs interns (or stagiaires, as the French call them). Editors need interns. Bloggers could use interns, too, to prowl the internetz and the streetz and look for material.

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  2. I strongly agree, Keren. Even when it feels like there’s just not enough time in the week, I can’t imagine not being an intern at the Swinery.
    It’s key to networking, but, perhaps even more importantly, it’s also the chance to do many more things and do them many more times, making so many more mistakes sooner rather than later and seeing different ways to do things.

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  3. Well, I haven’t heard it be compared to a little black dress before. How refreshing! And here I thought being a stage in restaurant kitchens has made me thoroughly unfashionable.

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