“We’d like you to keep working with us.”
Those are the words that every intern hopes to hear at the end of his internship. It means that they’ve been doing well, that they added value to the company, that they have developed skills that the company doesn’t want to lose – that they and the company have both done a great job. I was lucky to hear those words. They rounded off what has been a really positive experience and I thought it would be interesting to review some of the highlights.
Let’s take a step back. I come from a completely different field, or better, a couple of different fields. I have a Master’s Degree in Linguistics and a Professional Diploma in Bass Guitar. Over the last years I worked, with changing fortunes, as a freelance translator, music teacher and session musician. These are all jobs that you can’t do today, without participating in the self-marketing / personal branding / social media game. I started finding gigs via Twitter – I was doing OK. I began coaching other musicians and authors, telling them where opportunities are – they’re doing OK too. I simply reached a point where I thought that digital marketing could be another thing of mine, just like words and music. Connecting with other people was not just a means to an end anymore, but a wonderful end in itself.
To bring this idea to the next level I needed to find a place to take me and my ideas on board. Beyond my genuine interest and what I did in my freelance career I had no formal experience, so I decided to look for an internship. Best way to start up with my new career, I thought.
So last July I began working on the product side of Human Made, mainly Happytables and WP Remote, alongside Human Made CPO Noel Tock. Noel, over these months, has continually proved to be an excellent mentor and a very nice guy to get along with. We started working together getting familiar with the customer journey from the first time they get in touch with Happytables to their Premium subscription. Then over the weeks, I began working on the CRM side, mailing and chatting with a lot of happy customers that, thanks to Happytables, are watching their business growing up day by day. Twitter management, live support chat and writing guest posts, etc. were also part of my duties. Human Made company culture is extremely flexible, we work remotely, we are a multicultural team (I’m originally from Italy, but there are quite a few nationalities within the company), so we can be based pretty much anywhere in the world. As I’m based in UK like most of the team, we don’t have any timezone discrepancies, but that wouldn’t have been a problem per se.
I very soon understood that my responsibility within the team is not of little significance. Human Made has a world-class development team that, among other things, build awesome products with WordPress. My aim is getting those products out there, communicating them and making sure that people who can benefit from the products know about them. Hundreds of hours of thinking, planning, organising, and then coding, fixing bugs, updating, developing new ideas, putting them in action, etc., and yet their fate relies also on my hands. Having a good product is necessary, but most of the time not sufficient.
During the last days of my internship I met the guys in a company retreat in Amsterdam, just some days before WordCamp Europe in Leiden, The Netherlands. Those were the last days before launching the upgraded version of WP Remote, so I’d had the chance to see them in action, working with all their passion and enthusiasm. The three WordCamp days have been an amazing experience though I was relatively new in the community. Especially during the Contributor Day, I had the chance to witness how WordPress professionals are eager to give back to the WordPress community. Really inspiring. My job on this side hasn’t been sufficient so far: as a polyglot and skilled translator I should be more active within the WordPress translation team. I’ll see what I can do in the next few weeks. It’s a promise between us, dear WordPress dudes.
It has been more than a month from the WordCamp Europe days, another WordCamp is getting closer and I am now a full-time Human. I like working with Human Made. It’s challenging but fun. There’s a lot of work behind it, but the constantly bright mood of the team makes things way easier. There are a lot of skills to learn, but there’s nothing to be scared or worried about. To any other person who wants to intern in this field, I’d just say: be prepared to sponge up as much information as you can (from your mentors, from your boss, but also from third party sources – webzines, books, etc.), then put them in practice. If you want to work in this field and have a genuine interest in digital marketing and social media, you can’t fail in connecting with people.