Category Archives: Day-to-day

My Path to Pearson

Samantha Sinkhorn

I spent the last six years of my higher-ed life trying to answer one question: “What do you want to be when you grow up? “ Well, as much as I hate to admit it, I’m ‘grown up’ now – both my driver’s license and birth certificate can confirm this.

On my first day of my freshman year of college, I walked into class confident that I was on track to a business management degree. An hour and fifteen minutes later I walked out and sent my adviser a brief e-mail: “This isn’t going to Writingwork.” Hours of thumbing through course catalogues and imagining myself in various careers (some of which, albeit, were wildly unattainable) led me nowhere. So I decided to throw caution to the wind and pick a major that would allow me to do something that I love: write.

“What in the world are you going to do with a degree in English? Write poetry all day?” my dad would ask. Those types of questions increased in frequency when I decided to go on to get my master’s degree. However, my response was always the same: “I don’t know.”

So in the spring, when all my friends and classmates started sending out résumés and cover letters for jobs, I followed suit. Again, I started imagining myself inHot dog vendor different careers (journalist, graphic designer, marketing associate). I was going up against hundreds, if not thousands, of applicants for some of these positions, so my career search became a little less hopeful and a lot more desperate (telemarketer, lifeguard, hot dog vendor).

I didn’t want to give up what I wanted to do because of the job economy, so I turned my focus to publishing internships. I was always interested in the industry, particularly book publishing. While working on my master’s, I helped a professor publish one journalism textbook and one e-learning module. So with that experience under my belt, I started applying.

And now here I am—two months and four books into my internship and I love every single second of it.  The things I’ve learned, and continue to learn, will stick with me throughout my professional life. Currently, I am managing three titles from manuscript to bound book. This means I get to interact with authors, development editors, proofreaders and copy editors, and many other awesome Name in a bookpeople throughout the process. And the best part of all: I get to have my name published in the front of each book!

Although I’m not writing at this internship, my skills I obtained as a writer are easily transferrable to my internship (organization, eye for detail, ability to effectively communicate a message).

If someone told 18-year-old me that I would one day be working as an editorial intern at a publishing company, I would have called them a liar (but probably not to his/her face). I’ve changed a lot since then, especially that horrendous haircut, but my change to what could be a career in publishing is the one that I’m happiest about.

Even though my path to this internship was roundabout, I’m glad I kept my options open and sought out every opportunity that came my way. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have realized how much I enjoy doing what I do now. 


Big Girl Job

Julie Candio Sekel

It was the first week of my internship at Pearson and I was returning to my desk after lunch with two fellow interns in my department. As we laughed about whether or not we knew how to navigate through the maze of cubicles and slew of semi-familiar faces we would grow to identify easily over the next eight weeks, I bid my new acquaintances farewell with a confident head bob and a simple, “I know the way.”

I cut straight through the center aisle, hardly slowing my step, and streamlined for the back wall where I knew I had to make a left to be back at my desk. Just as I turned the corner, however, I jolted back from the utter embarrassment that there, at the end of my aisle, were the two other interns, who actually did know where they were going, which was nowhere near my desired location. Quickly observing the pantry close by, I couldn’t help but smile as I held up an empty bag and said, “I, uh, forgot I had to go put these things back in the fridge.”

In week one of my internship at Pearson, I was an ant scurrying about my ant farm in sheer confusion, merely trying to endure 6:30AM wakeups during ant farmmy summer vacation and having to be that person who couldn’t go out on weeknights with friends because I had a “big girl job.” In week one I sang praises to the heavens after simply surviving my first meeting with the VP & Director of Marketing in Social Sciences and Arts, while I observed another intern’s high comfort level that allowed him to ask her if he could grab a Red Bull from her mini fridge. It was in week one that I obtained a stack of paperwork on my desk that was double the size of any textbook I would be writing about, and in week one I returned home on Friday with a plain “I’m going to be the palest person ever this summer,” in response to the question of how I sized up the job.

Weeks later I must report that I have full color in my cheeks and I’ve seen the sun every single day. Not only do I sit outside at lunch with the other interns on many occasions, but I’ve also learned how to separate my work from my life as a college student outside of this internship. I must admit that this has been the most challenging part, with a long list of books and deadlines for e-catalog copy that needs to be written and uploaded, but I’ve learned to make it work.

The most notable thing about the Pearson program is that they don’t give their interns petty tasks, which is what causes me to be so engulfed in my work here. Instead of making countless copies, we are given projects and provided with the tools we need to successfully complete them. When I answer relatives who inquire about my job description, I am always met with an overly positive, yet surprised, response. Although I know my qualifications for the job, I did not expect to function at such a high level of active participation solely because I had believed all internship programs were homogenous in their ideals and expectations.

Believe me when I say Pearson is not the rule: it’s the exception. Pearson is invested in our futures, which is evident on a daily basis through assessments

USR Interns

USR Interns at Lunch & Learn Session

that provide us with feedback, workshops organized by the company, and supervisors who are always ready to assist us. And I like to think that our relationship is reciprocal: we too feel wholeheartedly invested in the continuing excellence of the global leaders in the publishing industry. We strive to overcome their obstacles, take pride in their successes, and even enjoy their complimentary lunch goodies, indicating another week has passed in our program.

Although I often feel my personal happiness derives from having a full stomach, I must admit this isn’t even the best part. One of my favorite aspects of this internship is the amount of independence we are afforded. We are not grouped together as a whole on a daily basis, but are integrated into the company’s daily routines and meetings, which often means working self-sufficiently like most employees, yet we still maintain communication with our mentors. We are not “babied” or “micromanaged” or made to feel inferior, but are treated like adults, which offers further validity of my “big girl job” when discussing it with others.

While my friends may not suspect it, this “big girl job” comes with enjoyment as Softballwell. Since I’ve been here, I’ve been invited to join my department’s softball team, shared many meals with peers, basked in the beauty of flex schedule Fridays, and raised my own virtual child in Pearson’s interactive online learning lab. Other interns have shared these experiences, openly venting with one another when our virtual teenagers ran away with their boyfriends to get tattoos or when we got into fights with our virtual husbands in front of the children.

The bottom line is that Pearson provides us with resources to delve into our program with a good attitude and strong structure of support, all while allowing us to incorporate our own fresh and fun ideas. When we complete trials, such as MyVirtualChild, Pearson asks for our questions and opinions; they ask for our input on such a regular basis, yet it always seems to astonish me. Pearson ensures the curiosity we had as children does not get lost or turn into lethargy, but translates into our becoming inquiring skeptics as adults.

After my six weeks here I’ve come to realize we are no longer the ants trying to navigate through the halls and sea of faces. We can be comfortable enough to weed through that gigantic stack of papers, respond thoughtfully in our intern workshops and focus groups, and even ask for that Red Bull from a higher authority. Now we can confidently say “I know the way,” and it doesn’t pertain to our office destination, but to the path we will take as leaders into our educational and professional careers as a result of our time at Pearson.

The Intern Life

Jill Weiss

I landed the World Languages Intern position after three rigorous and challenging interviews.  I had always known about Pearson, since most of my high school textbooks had the Pearson symbol on them and I knew they owned subsidiaries of other large companies, including Prentice Hall.  When I first heard that I got the position, I was thrilled! In this economy, not only is it extremely competitive to get an internship or job for the summer, but the fact that this internship was paid was fantastic.  Also, as an English major, I’ve always wanted to explore this industry and get a taste of what it is like to work in publishing.

Immediately upon my arrival at the office, I was greeted by my co-workers, who have helped me so much throughout my time at Pearson.  Whenever I have a question or inquiry, they are always there to help immediately. My second day at work, I immediately became apart of what I consider Pearson’s “digital revolution.”  My first project consisted of hot-spotting five foreign language textbooks.  Hot-spotting entails documenting and creating links on Microsoft Excel spreadsheets to make videos, icons, and words clickable on Pearson’s online MyLanguageLabs.  Not only did I have to include links, but I also had to indicate on Excel where certain words and videos needed to be placed on the page.  On average, I would say for each textbook I had close to 1700 rows that were labeled on Excel.  For my largest text I had over 3600 columns.

While at first I was a bit flustered by my assignment, with the help of my project manager, I was able to get through the process very smoothly.  As I was doing this project, I was also meeting with various people for lunches to gain a sense of what other employees at Pearson do on a daily basis.  Some of the people I met with included employees from the Human Resource Management Department and the Marketing department, who gave me extremely useful advice about their fields and their own career paths.  I have always had an interest in both Human Resource Management and Marketing, so I figured it would be great to meet with people who were highly trained in those fields.

Currently, I am working on a Photography Research project, where I am helping to update older images in Spanish textbooks.   I am looking forward to working on my upcoming marketing project, where the World Languages Marketing Assistant and I are going to organize the information she has about which schools currently do not use Pearson textbooks, which we will give to the Project Specialists to target these schools for the upcoming National Sales Meeting.

One of the major skills I have acquired in this position is that I’ve learned how important it is to ask questions in a corporate environment.  At first, I was a bit timid and did not know if I was creating a burden on people by asking them if the work I was doing was correct.  I’ve learned though that there really are no ridiculous questions and in any job, by asking questions, you are making sure that you are completing your assignment correctly.  This internship has also helped me become adept with important programs, including Microsoft Excel. Any of these skills and programs can be used in a corporate environment, which is another great perk of being a Pearson Intern.

What I personally love most about this internship is that I’ve been exposed to every division within the company.   While I have primarily worked on editorial and marketing projects, I have become familiar with parts of production and sales.  I have an amazing mentor who has helped me grow so much and I look forward to my endeavors with Pearson this summer!