It’s All in the Family

 In Intern
It's All in the Family

Mike joins the Honest family at the Veritiv Awards.

What is an internship? Is it a tryout for potential employment? An opportunity to genuinely learn about the nuances of the industry? Or, perhaps a three-week stint where you put your head down, do your work, and move on toward graduation. Well after my three weeks at Honest Agency, none of these answers seemed appropriate anymore, and truthfully, I still don’t have a good answer. But what I can tell you is that an internship is temporary.

Now take a moment to absorb what that really means. Temporary. It’s impermanent. From the onset, the full expectation of the whole ordeal is that this experience won’t last. No strings attached.

Yes, as a soon-to-be graduate of the Creative Communications program, my work placement at Honest Agency was the last thing I had to do before I moved on to #adulting—whatever that means. Fifteen days at Honest—no strings attached—and I would be a free man to do as I will.

Of course, things are never that easy.

(By the way, I still can’t decide if Honest is the Mila Kunis to my Justin Timberlake or the other way around.)

Since my work placement at Honest, I’ve spent a week in Chicago, a school trip, where I was able to reflect on the people I’ve met. While my mind was admittedly occupied with Chicago-y things, I have to admit, the Honest family crept their way into my thoughts.

In particular, they do this thing every Monday morning where they share the happenings of their weekends. I kept thinking of all the great, funny, raucous, and vulgar stories I was accruing in Chicago and how they would be great stories to relay back to the gang in Winnipeg. (I have a few I’d love to share, but the internet hardly seems the appropriate place to do so.)

However, I do want to briefly talk about the work because I feel like I should. They sell you the dream of working in an advertising agency. A life of glamour, perhaps not financially, but certainly where the brightest creative minds all end up to collaboratively produce some of the best art of the twenty-first century.

And it’s not that far off…

As a twenty-eight year old, I’ve worked a number of jobs. I’ve even switched career paths. At Honest, I finally got a taste of something I could see myself doing for a long time—working on blogs, drafting the content for catalogues, brainstorming concepts and taglines. (And attending fancy galas and award shows doesn’t hurt either.) It really got my creative juices going.

But really what makes Honest so great isn’t the work. It’s the people.

There’s Sherril. She’s the cool aunt of the group. If I was a kid and was running away from home (as kids tend to do), you better believe I’d be running to Sherril’s house. With Sherril, it was easy. We could just talk. About anything and everything. Right from the beginning, Sherril always made me feel comfortable.

There’s Charity. No matter what, Charity always made me feel like an equal part of the group, that I would have something to do and that it was important. I get it: I’m an intern, but still, it’s nice to feel needed and valued, and Charity gave me that. Oh, and I’m not usually a fan of small dogs (more of a big dog guy), but Coco (Charity’s pup that would tag along every so often) is so freakin’ cute!

There’s Eric. Here’s a young man that I think I’ll never meet the likes of again. He shows more passion for life in his pinky than I could ever hope to have in my whole body. The minute things I take for granted, he obsesses over, but, like, in a good way. The best part about Eric’s passion is that he genuinely wants to share it with the people who surround him. (Oh, and he’s the most lovable clown you’ll ever meet.)

There’s Melissa. It took a while for me to figure Melissa out. Thankfully, I had three weeks to do so because once we did get to talking, we talked a lot. (Melissa can be quite chatty actually.) Immersed in deep conversations about life and how I should use my last day of my internship to visit a psychic, Melissa is by far the most fun vegan I’ve ever met. (Remind me to schedule an appointment with my psychic.)

There’s Josie. She just knows, you know? An unspoken connection between me and my fellow CreComm, Josie got it. Maybe it was because we took the same program or are similar in age or both have an appreciation for the finer grammatical things in life, but she just got it. If I talked about my weekend at the pub, my pitiful online dating life that slides in and out of all the DMs, or my love for the Oxford Comma, she just understood.

There’s Callum. There’s this thing at Honest, a running joke, a living, breathing meme if you will, where it’s expected that at some point, Callum will walk down the hall from his office, crack a joke, sometimes cheesy and usually “dad-ish” in nature, and everyone else will kind of ignore it and let it fall flat. But this is all in jest. They would never admit it. They wouldn’t dream give Callum the satisfaction. But they love these jokes. Callum keeps the day moving. I’ve worked for a lot of people in my life, and these are the kinds of nuances you hope for in a boss/friend.

From the moment they made me suck back Josie’s Mexican mango sucker that tasted like spicy driftwood, to the half-dozen projects I got my hands on, to the open bar at the Veritiv Awards, to the Friday evening ping pong extravaganzas, it was clear to me that Honest Agency is about family. Honest may be small, but they are a close-knit group of people.

If an internship is no strings attached, well then, I failed in that regard. Maybe I didn’t totally learn what an internship was, but I learned who Honest was. I grew feelings for these people (ew… feelings…), and I can’t wait to run into them again in whatever capacity. Regardless of where I end up in the upcoming weeks, months, years, whatever, I will always remember the family at Honest.

It's All in the Family

Mike created blog posts, catalogue content and concepts for ads and marketing materials.

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