Well, the idea is that you take a college student or some other sort of underpriveleged overachiever, and make him do the job that you normally would have to pay a professional to do. The company gets work done, and the intern gets a small paycheck and experience so that he can become a paid professional. This type of agreement is particularly prevalent with engineers, computer programmers, and other geeks.

My six-month Public Relations internship was a big ol' bait and switch. I went to the orientation in January, starry-eyed with daydreams of honing my craft, churning out zestful press releases, and networking with Who's Who in PR. To the layperson, the cool thing about PR is that although we have no idea what it really involves, we suspect that PR is the invisible hand that gets things done with style and grace. I wanted to learn those secrets and develop a real skill. I wanted to become a spin doctor.

Mostly, however, I spent time on the phone trying to scam some other publicist into giving Boss and his unbelievably hot girlfriend free dinners at swanky restaurants. Seriously, my job was to call up businesses on and arrogantly demand free shit. CDs, movies, meals, hotel stays, concert tickets, magazine subscriptions, unicorns, what have you.

The novelty wore off quickly. I confided my misgivings to a manager, telling her I felt like a con artist. A week later, Boss took me aside and gave me some bullshit advice.

He told me to go into my assignments with the attitude that "I'm doing the other guy a favor."

It's no secret that a sexy, confident swagger can open doors for you, so I can't say that this advice was the mind-blowing epiphany I hoped for. Really, it was pretty anticlimactic. I'm already sexy and confident, and when do I not swagger?

I was kinda hoping for something more specific, something tactical, something technical. Instead he basically told me to throw a temper tantrum. Existential panic set in and blahness started to creep into my work. After all, what was I really learning? How to run game on customers? Been there, done that. I was about ready to opt out of the program, but I really really really need something like this on my resume, so I can leave the Evil Corporation once and for all and get a real job. Plus, all the other interns are hot chicks. So I took the only logical path: I decided to half-ass all my assignments.

Several months of pseudo-work later, I'm finally about to "graduate" from this program and get a meaningful notch on my resume. I won't go into detail; suffice it to say that rhetorical, umm, gymnastics, got me much farther than hard work did. This is great! Next time I apply for a media job, I'll have the pleasure of bragging about something I ought to be ashamed of.

I am by no means trying to expose hypocrisy, right injustice, or bring fire to the illiterate masses. If you know me, you know that in 94% of cases, I support hypocrisy, injustice, and exploitation of the illiterate masses, because that's the American way. But if anyone asks me what the PR industry is like, what else should I report? In the end, I know just as much about PR as I did at the beginning: Nada.

I hope the recommendation letter I get next week is fucking stellar, although if the Boss half-asses it, I won't be surprised.

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