Perspectives of an Intern: Productivity

I think I could take over the world.

You see, it’s really incredible what one can do when given the opportunity.  For example, when given the opportunity, I will sleep fourteen hours a day and allow my waking time to be governed by the cyclical preparation, then consumption, of innumerable meals.  I’ll cite this past weekend as evidence of that.

But when I wake up, quite grudgingly, at eight a.m. Monday-Friday, and promptly fall back asleep, don’t believe for a minute that I don’t want to go to work.  Eventually.  The truth is, I like being productive.  I was raised to be productive.  Under my mother’s rule, summers were spent volunteering, weekends were for extracurriculars, and afternoons were occupied with homework and studying.  Productivity for its own sake was often the name of the game, such as when I volunteered—or was volunteered—at the tender age of eleven, to teach seven-year-olds.  Needless to say, I did not command a lot of respect.

This internship, though, is satisfying in its all-around legitimacy.  I have a desk.  I have hours.  I even have an e-mail account.  And we’re productive.  We have something tangible to show for it—sets, plays, advertisements, happy people streaming through our doors, tickets in hand.

The most shocking thing, to me, is how little agony is involved.  (On my part at least, though I imagine life may not be as easy for the people scheduling events.)  Productivity has so often meant “Finish these problem sets” or “Write a twenty-page paper on Sumerian religion.”  It’s daunting.  It’s distinctly un-fun, and it makes me quiver in my cardigan as I stare down the pike of forty years at a full-time job.  In two years I will graduate, and from there I have to Make Something of Myself.

The purpose behind my mother’s enforced productivity rituals was to prepare me for this, to give me the confidence to think that I can take the world by storm, or at least make enough money to cover a decent apartment.  In my chosen (hopefully) profession, though, it’s far more sink-or-swim.  You write a novel or you don’t.  You write a play or you don’t.  And then you sell it, except you probably don’t.  It’s frightening, and leads to doubts that can’t be assuaged by the memory of having done those problem sets and written that paper.  How many authors or playwrights can the average person name?  Am I special enough to earn a place among them, or am I destined to spend endless mornings staring at a blank screen, my productivity flatlining?

Being here every day not only gives me something to do, it proves that I will always have something to do if I choose to.  I don’t have to be that one-in-a-million playwright to be a part of putting on a one-in-a-million play.  I don’t have to be running J.P. Morgan to be productive and have something to show for my efforts.  And lest this seem like my mediocrity manifesto, I’m not saying I’m not also going to try to write something life-changing or take over old Juan Pedro and sit high and mighty on Wall Street.  But those opportunities will come later, and for now, I’m quite happy to be a little more concerned with this blog.  So, the moral of the story is, keep checking back for updates!


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