5 Things I've Learned While Working at xoJane

Life lessons straight from beneath the fluorescent lights of the Say Media xoJane hub.

Jul 30, 2012 at 2:30pm | Leave a comment

Hey pretty people: Amanda here, one of your summer xoJane interns. Despite my inability to last a full conversation without excessive use of the words “sick,” “sweet” and “rad,”  I somehow conned them into hiring me. So, after filling out some scary forms with gross fine print, I now get to do things like upload articles to the site, delete bigoted comments, and pretty much spend all day chillin’ in the cyberworld of women’s media.

The only catch to this dream sequence? Thanks to a little troublemaker I’ll call Obama, I can’t be paid in hugs and praise. I’m required to earn college credit that “substantially contributes to my education and/or future career goals.” In the interests of keeping the NYC Department of Labor from launching a full-scale investigation, or worse, holding us in the office past happy hour, I’ve compiled a list of five important lessons I’ve learned so far about life, journalism, and grossly abusing occupational perks.

1. XoJane may seem like an adorably dysfunctional family, but don’t let that fool you, they are a completely, adorably dysfunctional family.

Human resource departments are for losers -- who needs mediation when you can just tell your co-worker, “You’re being kind of a bitch, boo.”  Imitate the cute squabbling of an old married couple in Palm Beach to instantly give any office that Thanksgiving dinner feel. Warm up to your boss by broaching as many taboos as possible -- the goal is to dissolve any line between work you and real-talk you. After all, if you can’t tell your supervisor the status of your bikini line, who can you tell? Keep in mind, loves, I haven’t even seen these crazies drunk yet.

2. Mid-afternoon shopping trips improve worker productivity.

Got that 2 o’clock feeling? Screw five-hour energy shots. Olivia, Julie, Madeline let me tag along “for research purposes” as they revived and replenished by cuddling boots and pineapple men’s shirts (ok that was only me) at our local neighborhood dive, Opening Ceremony. Twenty minutes of ogling and slobbering over Clothes I Definitely Cannot Afford (again, just me, they’re well behaved and dainty as fuck) actually increased worker efficiency 58 percent throughout the subsequent 3 hours, according to my controlled experiment, sample size: 1 unpaid intern.

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Life Lesson: Drinking huge Red Bulls makes people think you're important!

3. It’s not what you earn; it’s what you mooch.

Job perks I have noted: posh parties, obscene amounts of free beauty products and procedures, and, not least of all, an endless supply of yogurt-covered pretzels. Don’t think I’m sitting this one out dudes; I’ve already taken my first baby steps towards the ultimate career goal of “professionally getting tons of shit for free.” Organizing the beauty cabinet quickly turned into Julie recommending some new beauty products for my sad, sad medicine cabinet. If nothing else, though, always remember: You’re basically losing money if you don’t order that drink at comped lunches.

4. Insecure writer neuroses never quite vanish, no matter how talented you are, and no matter how many readers send you love-poems via comment box. 

So, from time to time, even your fave xojane writers wonder out loud, “Will anybody actually care about this?” Emily once insisted that her most recent article sucked; fast forward 3 hours, I  was literally snorting out Red Bull laughing from it. If these self-assured bad-asses falter, I should probably just consign myself to a lifetime of talk therapy. Hey, adoring comments probably can’t hurt though, babes, feel FREE to prove me wrong. Thanks for reading, Ma, and yes, I forgot to eat breakfast.

5. Yeah, Jane Pratt is probably as cool as you suspect.

And you know I’m telling the truth cause what’s she gonna do, take away my paycheck? Thing is, I didn’t know the extent of my admiration until the Dreaded Bird Poop Debacle of June 10th, in which I eagerly agreed to be the “I’ll Try Anything Once Girl” (cause I’m bold, brave and don’t give a fuck, ya dig?) only to discover that my first straight-from-the-trenches reporting job involved undergoing a facial of NYC born and raised pigeon feces.

“I’ll do it with you, I’ll try anything.” Jane promised, glowing serenely like a punk-rock yogi, as an unattractive layer of sweat accumulated on my upper lip. Suddenly, my head was swirling with visions of Jane Pratt and I at our personal pigeon-shit salon, poop masks penetrating our pores and cucumbers on our eyes as we gossip about celebrities and painstakingly dissect my inability to flirt.

Only when I was on page 11 of my “nightingale dropping” + “facial” Google search, emailing my horrified older sister links with subject lines like “Posh Spice loooves it!” did I realize how far gone I was. This could be the 6th thing I learned, by the way. Literally every celebrity you wanna bang has had some kind of animal guts on his/her/whoever's face, which goes back to that age-old warning your momma gave you “If it looks too good to be true, it got that way using a cow placenta rejuvenation mask.”

But I digress. Basically, if you ever want to test a lover, friend, employee or barista’s loyalty, suggest that you guys get a “nightingale droppings” facial together.

So there you go, life lessons straight from beneath the fluorescent lights of the Say Media xoJane hub. If this is indentured servitude, go ahead and handcuff me to our utility-chic makeup cabinet. What else should I studiously observe while I’m here? Would you suffer a nightingale dropping facial for the chance to kick it with Jane Pratt? And most importantly, what office prank should I pull next time I’m left alone and bored at my desk?