University of Southern California

Student Life Blog

I Got 99 Problems and Traffic Is One


By Selena Ng Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The phone rings for the fourth time in the past two minutes. “Inspire, this is Selena. He’s in a meeting right now. Can I take a message?” The statement rolls off my tongue with ease, considering that it’s now the fifteenth time I’ve said it.

Oh, the world of unpaid internships. Some people think interns just sit around, type up emails, make coffee and answer phones. Well, that’s because some people don’t intern at a music branding company that is currently preparing the launch of a vinyl record campaign for Whole Foods Market. I have now had to create a new folder on my Gmail dedicated to emails regarding this campaign. The directors of sales and marketing at the top record labels in the world, including Universal Music Group and Warner Bros. Records, probably know me now because I have called them on a daily basis for the past month. I haven’t taken a lunch break at my internship since my first week here. And yet, I’m thrilled to be at this company, working long hours, making spreadsheet after spreadsheet, and calling people who are probably sick of hearing my voice by now. That’s because walking into a Whole Foods Market and seeing the product that I helped put on the shelf makes all the hard, unpaid work worth it. At least that’s what I keep telling myself as I answer a phone call from Sony Music for the third time!

It’s Wednesday, July 3, and as expected, everybody has already left for the holiday. Of course, that wouldn’t be such a problem if we didn’t have such a huge project coming up. The head of operations for Whole Foods is coming to Los Angeles to preview the vinyl campaign, and if we don’t have anything to present to him, then the past month of work is completely wasted. We’re contacting record labels and basically begging them to send over promotional copies of their records. With the holiday, however, everybody is out of town, and we’re out of luck.

Can’t think too much of it, though, because after scrambling around the office all morning trying to pull together this presentation, we have to be in North Hollywood by 1:00 PM for a business meeting. Can this day get anymore hectic?

Apparently it can, because Los Angeles traffic shows no mercy, even if you have an important meeting to get to. As I sit behind the wheel, cursing the plethora of cars in front of me that seem to be going slower every minute, a sign appears. And it’s not just any old road sign. Nope. It’s the Hollywood sign. And suddenly, I’m reminded of why the hard work, long hours, and crazy LA traffic is worth the burden. Because there is nowhere else I would rather be, and there’s no other industry I’d rather work in. So despite every con that I could ever encounter, this sign serves as the symbol of the only pro I’ll ever need.

Besides, it can’t always be this busy right? Right? Oh boy…

The one thing that kept me from completely losing it last Wednesday. ISN’T IT GORGEOUS?

The one thing that kept me from completely losing it last Wednesday. ISN’T IT GORGEOUS?

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