My Summer as an Intern

Lizzie Case Posted by Lizzie Case, Digital Editorial Intern, Berrett-Koehler.


My Summer as an Intern

Forty-eight days ago, I walked into Berrett Koehler’s tenth floor office and sat in my cubicle for the first time to begin my summer as a full-time Digital Editorial intern. 384 hours and 96 Bart rides later, I can definitively say that it was not a waste of time. I learned a lot, got to live in a new city, built relationships, and even had a little fun.

BK’s Digital Editor, Charlotte hired me right as she accepted a position at another company, causing her to leave her full-time position here only a week after I started mine. Her work was distributed amongst staff members, a lot of it falling on me. I liked the challenge of the extra work because it allowed me to push myself even more. What I appreciated even more was that the staff all seemed to trust me to do my job and respect me for taking on additional work.

My normal Monday-Friday schedule is usually just me sitting in my cubicle adding content to our website, editing videos for our Youtube channel, completing different digital tasks requested by staff members, attending meetings, and reading book proposals. I got to learn a lot about editorial, digital, and marketing this summer. Some of my favorite memories at BK are author days, the BK marketing workshop, and the annual shareholders meeting. Each of these events have a few things in common, free food. They also tore me away from my computer screen and gave me a chance to learn more about the company and the industry I’ve been working with.

During author days we get to eat a catered lunch while listening to one of our authors present their new book in between their all-day meetings with each department. To them, it helps personalize the relationship between them, their book, and their publisher. To the BK staff, in addition to the relationship, it really personalizes the work we do for each author and their book. Whenever I had a new project for an author I’d previously met, I was motivated to do an even better job and felt attached to the work I was doing. Of course, I worked hard for authors I hadn’t met as well, but the ability to connect personally with them provides more value to the time I spend on my work.

One part of author days I always looked forward to were the digital meetings in the afternoons where David and I would meet with the author and go over the digital plan. These were my favorite meetings at BK because they were where I felt most in my element. At each one I attended, both David and the author always valued my opinions. They made me feel happy to be in my current position and proud of the work I was doing.

I met author Nat Greene and his ghost writer Erik Fogg at the Annual Shareholders Meeting, got to know them at the marketing workshop, and worked with them at their author day all in one short week. Nat’s presentation for his book “Stop Guessing: The 9 Behaviors of Great Problem Solvers” actually helped show me a new way to work through problems and the first few chapters I read of the book impressed me. During their author day I was given the opportunity to direct Nat’s video interview with help from Zoe Mackey and work through the footage to create short videos for BK’s new Youtube series called Brain Snacks.

The shareholder’s meeting had seriously good catering. I got to meet a lot of people that are very important to the company and learn a lot about who I was working for. What I learned at the meeting wasn’t a necessary part of my internship, but it gave me the chance to gain a deeper respect for Berrett-Koehler and all it has accomplished, as well as learn more about what it takes to make a company successful.

The marketing workshop was really cool, despite taking up a full Friday and Saturday. Not only did I enjoy the food, but I spent that weekend surrounded by very talented and successful people. It was like pulling faces out of the BK catalog. I rode the elevator up the first morning with a woman who I quickly recognized as Susan Fowler. From there, I recognized more and more people, feeling as if I were in a room with a bunch of celebrities.

I probably won’t go into the publishing industry after I graduate in June, but that doesn’t mean I’m not taking my new skills with me. Today at 4pm I’ll go down the elevator for the last time (unless I get invited back for author days when I’m in town… hint, hint) with more than just an addition to my resume. The staff at BK is a great bunch of people that I’m happy to have been immersed for even a short time. As cheesy as it sounds, I’ll always feel lucky to have been given the opportunity for this internship and value the time I spent here. The perks my job description failed to include were spontaneous Friday pizza parties, new friendships, new thoroughly depressing words for my vocabulary, and a new appreciation for nonfiction books.