Article by Kevin Choa
Around six months ago, one of my project heads in my org gave me application details to become a When In Manila intern (or a WIMtern). As much as I loved to (and still love to) write, I never really imagined applying for and getting this job at all. I knew so many people who are better qualified for the job, could only write serious or political stuff, and preferred to work alone.
Six months later, I was proofreading my last features and editing my last photos. As of this writing, I still can’t let go of being a WIMtern and might not handle seeing everyone for possibly the last time. I got to meet people and see places I’d have to really go out of my way to see, and experience things I wouldn’t even dream of doing. There are so many things that can happen to make you happy, but very few things that you can say are life-changing.
For me, one of those things was this job. Here’s why I clicked “Submit” to apply and never looked back since.
There’s no one way to do any job well. Trust in other people as they always trust you.
That’s what I thought the moment I finished reading the internship primer (our WIMtern bible), and something my supervisors would tell me one way or another. There really was no concrete way to accomplish any feature. Growing up in a more formal work environment inside and outside the classroom, it’s been a refreshing change of pace in how I work, in general. My supervisors just let me do whatever it is I wanted how I wanted it in every feature I worked on, and most of the time took it as it is and took me as I am.
Knowing that you’re supported for doing things you’re passionate about is something I’ve never really experienced, which really led me to trust other people more. You just can’t have that easily in other jobs.
Having fun and loving your job will be a habit.
Don’t get me wrong; it’s not like I could do everything I wanted to do as a WIMtern. That being said, it was no less fun working as one thanks to the trust I got from everyone. For all the talk of many people my age feeling entitled to high-paying and lucrative jobs, it’s really how our work is valued that decides whether or not we’re staying. Beyond that, though, it’s also about how much we love the job we’re doing.
As a WIMtern, I’ve never had to question how much I loved my job (or if I even did) even with the hassle of going from feature to feature and whatever happened after that. Not only did I feel that I had my team’s support, but I also felt that whatever I was doing was valuable. Even with more than ten writers, the amount of work we all had to do wasn’t something only ten writers could do, and the variety of styles we had to offer meant that losing one of them would be a significant loss.
As for having fun, I sure had tons of it. From all the memes, all the sass, and everything else in-between, there’s never been a shortage of stuff I’ve been able to do with my co-interns that I wouldn’t have been able to do elsewhere or with many other people. While being alone for most of your life has its perks, not much can top finding more than 20 friends through co-interns and even supervisors. Being in a job where you’re supported by people you can call friends isn’t something I imagined coming in, but that’s been the trend in the last five months I’ve had with this job.
Share the things you love, because there’s someone who will love you back for doing it.
That’s what makes it difficult to leave this job. You can’t force people to love whatever it is you’re sharing, but knowing that you and your co-interns share a love for something is something life-changing that I can’t describe well in words. Beyond all the time you can spend just talking about it, there’s no better way to learn something than through someone who you share a lot of common interests with. It’s not only easier to understand that person, but also pushes you to keep sharing your ideas, no matter how crazy they might sound.
For me, there’s nothing better than being free to do that, especially growing up in an environment where there wasn’t too much room for self-expression. Even then, that’s not the only reason why it’s hard for me to leave my WIMtern status in the past and go back to life before it.
The biggest reason why it’s hard for me to leave this job is because I’ve found myself a home. If you’ve experienced moving away from home, I’m sure I need not explain this anymore. I’ve had a team who would support me no matter what I did, thanks to the trust we’d put in each other to get the job done. I’ve had supervisors who weren’t conventional bosses and would just push me to do my best in every feature I sent for review, no matter how hard I was to work with at first.
I’ve had friends who I could just talk to and share the most random and annoying stuff with without having to worry about looking stupid. Finally, I’ve had a family, with all these personalities and more; that no matter where we came from before, we’d always somehow find something to get along.
When I first encountered this job, I thought there was only one way in and one way out of it. I’m leaving it knowing that there’s always an endless amount of ways to go in and out of it. To every WIMtern who will come after me, I sure hope you take that to heart and never look back on that decision you made to join the WIM Squad. Welcome to the team.