Radio and TV personality Charlamagne once stated: “Most people are incapable of recognizing a good opportunity unless there’s a paycheck attached.” Especially creatives." I couldn't agree more.
Tip #1: I think it’s important not to be so cynical when you’re just starting out, and to do everything wholeheartedly— paid or not. That’s how you prove yourself, your talent, your worth, and gain support from others. Then you can set your own prices.
So don’t stick your nose up at the unpaid internship. Don’t turn down passion projects with local creatives just because they can’t afford to pay you like a professional (yet). A club at school, a part-time weekend job, or a project you did completely for free might lead to more than you think. Tip #2: Treat every opportunity like it’s your big break and one day, the right people will notice.
Tip #3: Lastly, don’t envy or compare yourself to others. If a friend of yours is an assistant fetching coffees at Vogue, but you’re just an intern with a lot more responsibilities at a smaller, fairly unknown magazine, who really has the most room to grow? Whose position is most beneficial? It’s hard to determine because quite frankly, it doesn’t matter. They are who they are, and you are still you. Your paths are different. Your potentials are different. Your work ethics cannot be compared.
Overall, pay and prestige aren’t everything. Trust your process. Treat every task like your dream boss will be evaluating it. Appreciate where you are, and get ready for what is coming.