When I walk into the Reader’s Digest office every morning, I'm always excited to find out what surprising things lie in store for me that day. As I exit the elevator onto the third floor, the smell of freshly brewed Starbucks coffee greets me. My first perk of the day: an unlimited supply of free coffee, tea and even hot chocolate in the employee kitchen. Yum.
After a hit of caffeine, I make my way towards my desk, passing two long filing cabinets. On these filing cabinets lie dozens of books: memoirs, graphic novels, paperbacks and spiral-bound manuscripts. These works of literature rotate through the office regularly. Both new and established authors send in their books in hopes of having them highlighted in the RD review. Once the editors have picked their favorites, the runner-ups end up on these shelves, free for the taking. Offering free books at my workplace is the equivalent of giving candy to a hyperactive 5-year-old: there is no resisting.
Once I’m finished browsing the shelves (with a paperback or two in hand), I place my cup of steaming tea at my desk. I share a long desk with the three other interns, but individual areas are marked by our own supersize Mac desktops and nameplates: Kelli Fitzpatrick, cubicle 3N-202. I even have my own landline—how funny is that! A phone with a cord!
I log onto my computer and see that my first slideshow, which I had researched and written a few days prior, has appeared on the Reader’s Digest homepage. My first piece is about superheroes behaving badly. If you’ve never spotted Spider-Man moonlighting as a criminal, you should check it out.
Exuberant about my byline, I quickly tweet the link to my small group of followers. I’ve never been much of a Twitter girl, but I know it’s essential in today’s media world. Within seconds, I see that @LizVacc has tweeted me: “You’re killin it girl. Love.” Oh. My God. That’s the editor-in-chief of RD. Liz Vaccariello. I already thought it was amazing that she was following me, and now she's praising me on Twitter? It’s a pleasure to work for an editor who is as genuine and down-to-earth as Liz.
What a whirlwind of a day, and it’s barely 10 a.m. I finally open my inbox and read the first email from research manager Fran. “Shrimp & chorizo jambalaya on Monday,” he declares. “I'm assuming everyone can eat a tabasco chili pepper or two.” And with that, I know I’ve definitely landed the dream internship.
By Kelli Fitzpatrick, Kent State University, Reader's Digest
Edited by Caroline Hatano, Boston University, Food & Wine