You have to pass this Creativity Test to intern at Killian Branding.
And do it without the aid of our Automatic Concept Dispenser. Talk about brutal. But first, you probably have questions about internships.
Well, yes: can I get one?
Maybe. There’s competition for our internships. Quite a few people seem interested in demanding work with no guarantees of future happiness. Go figure.
Ambitious, self-starting, creative, high-wattage people who are not afraid of responsibility. Or occasional grunt work.
Would I be better off flipping burgers?
That depends. There are pros and cons. Hills and valleys. If aptitude tests point you to a future in professional burgerflipping, go for it. Our internship would be a speedbump on the drive-through of your career.
Tell me more about those hills and valleys.
Don’t take that literally. This is flatland Chicago, and until Mt. Prospect erupts, we see hills only in metaphor. The good news is that you’d be working in a smallish agency. Doing real work. For real clients.
Fair enough. How about the bad news?
The big disadvantage is that you’d be working in a smallish agency. There’s nowhere to hide. If you can’t cut it, everybody will know.
The atmosphere is quite different from dinosaur agencies in more ways than we can shake an intern at. So if your ultimate goal is to grind away at Sayfe, Lee, Blandon, Gray until you earn a corner office, a mid-life crisis, clinical depression, or some dreary confluence of the above, it might be wise to re-think your choices. Killian Branding just might be the wrong launch pad.
Surely you exaggerate.
Yes. We do. Often.
What’s your dress code?
Since naked employees tend to have a negative effect on productivity, our dress code asks employees and interns, politely but firmly, to dress. Those who remain persistently, defiantly nude may be subject to a reprimand. (We haven’t had to resort to that yet, but we remain ever vigilant.)
More pros please.
Well, our offices are in the delicious 60607 zip code, Chicago’s hip and hot Greektown. (How do you feel about flaming cheese?) You’d have plenty of lunch options in a three-block radius. Headquarters is a brick-and-timber loft office with a sloping purple wall, some yoga-ball seating, and a 17-foot-high phone booth. So bring your bouzouki and an appetite for baklava. Maybe you’ll even learn a Greek phrase or two. We’ve given up trying to find the Greek word for intern … for now, Bouzouki will do.
Those are trivial matters. Tell me more about The Job.
Ah. We get distracted by food. We have good news there, too. First, we work for a first-class and diverse client list with nothing in common except this: they’re nice people, the end result of our reckless policy of only working with people we like.
Second, nobody here gives a rat’s posterior about your age, gender, race, religion, national origin, green hair, sorority, sexual orientation, table manners, tattoos, tanktops, tonedeafness, politics, police record, pierced body parts or beak size. You’ll be measured only on your ability to make great things happen.
Third, you’ll learn as much as you have the ability and initiative to learn. We do strategic branding, company and product naming, advertising, web design, graphic design and more. We’d expect you to contribute from day one.
Now are you intimidated?
Not a bit. Hit me with the downside.
Food and transportation in Chicago are costly. Housing can be, too, but there are attractive options. You won’t be covered by our health insurance. Every once in a while, the Big Cheese plays opera or old Chet Baker tunes. If you can’t keep our office hula hoop rotating, some may sneer. You’re likely to acquire a nickname, like "Spunky," or "Bouzouki."
Commuting on the El or the bus can sometimes be crowded and, in summer, icky. Being on the bottom of the totem pole means you might get some crummy jobs, like walking to the bank when it’s hot enough to fry an egg on an intern.
I’m not scared off yet, buster. But will my internship jumpstart my career?
Yes, indeed. Assuming, of course, that you’re among the best candidates we can find.
So how are you going to find the best candidate? That is to say, me.
That’s the old confidence, Spunky. That assertiveness training is starting to pay dividends. Since we haven’t scared you off yet, it’s time to confront our Intern Creativity Test. Take a deep breath:
First, write us a letter, telling us when you’re available to start, when you have to leave us, what computer skills you have, the weekend you have to leave early to be in Jessica’s wedding, why you refuse to live up to our dress code, your allergy to flaming cheese, etc. Nuts and bolts. We always have one intern here, year round, and sometimes two or three. It’s minimum wage (unless your college credit co-op doesn’t permit it). Since summer competition is fierce, if you can intern in another season, you improve your chances.
Then separately (and much more important) sell yourself to us.
Make, that is, some persuasive advertising, with you as the product. As soon as you think it’s pretty darn semi-wonderful (that is, above and beyond what your competitors will do), send it to:
Intern Creativity Test Judge
322 South Green, 5th floor
Chicago IL 60607-3555
The decision of the judge, no matter how perplexing, pig-headed or preposterous is final. In this Darwinian competition, there are no guidelines, no deadlines, and no prize, or even notification, for second place. Let us spell that out, since some people don’t seem to get it: we notify the winner(s) and nobody else. Cold and cruel? Perhaps, so don’t bother following up "to see if it arrived." It did. This is a Darwinian, last-one-standing knife fight, with no rules. (Re-read that last dependent clause, Bouzouki.) Fortune favors the brave.