My name is Corie. I am 27 years old. I have an MBA and my undergraduate degree is from one of the best public universities in the United States - the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. I have a full time job as a manager for a well-respected health insurance company.
…And I am a record label intern.
You may be asking yourself, "Why is this highly-educated young woman, over the age of 25, with a full time job, interning?" I intern because I am passionate, hardworking, and want to make a name for myself in the music industry---but I am not too proud to understand that I still have more to learn and plenty to prove.
When I say I have more to learn and plenty to prove—it's not because I don't know how to do things or don't understand how the real world works; it's quite the opposite. What I have learned in the six extra years (approximately the amount of years I have over my co-interns), is that no one is going to hold your hand through everything, and sometimes you just need to adapt and make it work—no matter what the circumstances. I have become very self-motivated and sufficient in the last half decade of my life.
Today the world moves so quickly and you have to keep up with it. There is far too much information at everyone's fingertips to take it for granted. Anyone in this world can really be and do anything if they wanted, just by Googling 'how to…'. The dream is no longer the American Dream. The dream is the Google Dream.
My generation has disproved the theory of my parent's generation that if you go to school and specialize in something, you will exit prepared to be an expert, and be entitled to a job in which you will find satisfaction and wealth. Instead, my generation is slightly behind, had spent years specializing and now needs to focus on generalization and adaptation. Big businesses are looking to combine positions and save money, while entrepreneurs are looking for dedicated talent who can do it all. All the while, after the disappointment sets in with reality, we are all wishing we had a job we loved, regardless of the rest.
I will not completely discount my formal schooling—I know it taught me very important things, including time-management, rationale, and critical thinking. However, as the market evolves, we must keep up with it; no school can prepare you for the types of things you will be tasked with over the next 40 years of your life. In order to be the best at what you do, you must be presented with challenges you are not prepared for, and you must get through them. You have to know how to use the resources around you and the people you know in order to be successful.
Corie Kellman with Conqueroo's Cary Baker at SXSW (Photo: Emily White)
Nothing in this world makes me happier than music—and even though I am not a musician, I am committed to finding a place in the industry that is right for my skill set. I have had the amazing opportunity to work through a from-the-ground-up first year with Readymade Records, an independent label startup, with mentorship from industry pro Emily White and musician Brendan Benson. What I respect most about this duo is that they have very similar ideologies to what I have spent this article preaching. They identified that they were not happy with the music business model of those [labels] of Brendan Benson's past and they took a chance on revolutionizing a new model. They are innovative and ready to take chances. Emily and Brendan also adapt quickly to change and understand the importance of getting the job done, regardless of what they have been taught or trained to do—they are always ready to learn new things. I have learned so much over the last year with Readymade and can't think of a better place to have exercised efforts in how to make it work.
What makes this internship worthwhile is that Emily and Brendan trust me to do real work. This means I log in every day and make sure that things get done. I am held accountable and my team depends on me. Many ask me what I do with Readymade and, typically, I reply, "I'm kind of Jack-of-all-Trades," and the last year has proven it. In my time with Readymade, I have managed artist calendars, updated marketing plans, brainstormed brand imaging, managed social media, participated in conference calls, created and distributed minutes, provided content writing for FanBridge emails, assisted in the studio, sold merch, and even filled in as tour manager at SXSW 2013 when our tour manager got sick. …And I could probably keep this list running on down the page. It takes a special kind of person to be able to do a lot of different things and to do them well, and only experience will tell you if you are the type of person who is going to break under the pressure or love the satisfaction you get at the end of the day.
So don't judge me (or anyone else) for being the 27 year old intern—hire someone like me instead. I get it now, and I will continue to learn and figure it out when I don't.