393 words // 5 min. read
For my first post I am covering a regrettable aspect of modern American society: the lost practice of apprenticeship. According to Wikipedia, it was a practice developed in the late Middle Ages, and afforded the apprentice free food, lodging, and training by a master in exchange for work. Also according to Wikipedia, “the number of apprenticeships has declined greatly in the United States in the modern era.” And that’s because it’s been replaced with the concept of “internships” – free labor in exchange for…. experience in bitch work.
Personally I have always sought out the advice and guidance of those much older than me. I figure that they have learned lessons through mistakes that I can bypass, if I am receptive to those lessons. I have been blessed by the wisdom and training of mentors, especially professionally. There are mindsets I have adopted from their gentle guidance which afford me expansion beyond what would have been possible to my mind otherwise.
Not so in the modern-day internship. You don’t sit by the photographer and learn techniques on Photoshop. You don’t get to watch the fashion designer at work and he or she doesn’t explain their choices to you. You don’t even get to sit in on meetings while the executives negotiate a business deal. Instead, you are in the copy room, fetching lattes, replying to emails. Miserable and undervalued, and unpaid for your efforts. You are the workhorse pulling the plow for other peoples’ crops.
Well I think that’s a piss-poor way to show the young that they have value! Know that you are capable of so much more. You could start working to become a photographer if that’s your thing, or you could start a sewing group or just start making your own clothing until you can take orders for money, or you could ask every businessperson you know for help with your negotiation skills. The keys are that you recognize your own potential and that you work toward your goal.
And many times older people are very happy to have a young person who is eager for shaping. Ask for help and you will receive it. Ask for feedback and you may wince when you receive it, but you will grow through it. And you will expand, expand, expand. The wisdom of the ages must be passed down– do your part and ask for it!