Orientation day at NBC was a long one. All the interns gathered early in HR where we were subjected to a bunch of films, powerpoint presentations, and lectures to prep us for our time with the network.
One thing that surprised me was how SNL and Conan interns were shunned by everyone. The head of HR made it clear we were not of the same caliber as the other shows’ interns, since we had no dress code (and, in her opinion, no manners).
She kind of made us out to be the bad seeds of the schoolyard, mingling with the civilized, educated children. We were “those late night kids.” During the ten minute powerpoint presentation on “Dress for Success” and how we were encouraged to “Dress for the job we want, not the job we have,” she turned an exasperated eye on us and said: “You late night kids won’t get anything out of this.” Then everyone gave us a long and painful onceover.
While us Conan/SNL kids all lounged back in our chairs in our jeans, sneakers, and college sweatshirts, the Nightly News with Brian Williams and Today Show interns were there to impress. They sat ramrod straight, hands folded in front of them, and they all took detailed notes. The guys wore loafers, khakis, blazers and ties, and the girls wore knee length skirts with cardigans, or dresses and sensible Mary Janes.
It wasn’t fair to cast this divide between us. Our individual shows had different rules. Since working in late night is a more relaxed environment (we’re doing a lot more runs, too) we were allowed to dress for comfort.
But then something happened. I was paying serious attention to everything the Pages had to tell us. I hung off of every word out of the HR head’s mouth. That’s when my Conan friends started teasing me for being a “dork.” I even wound up high-fiving a nice and smartly dressed Today show intern at one point.
Anyway, I got the last laugh, because there was a verbal quiz, and I answered every question correctly. And I won my choice of a special promotional poster. I could pick from ER, Friends, 30 Rock, and House. I chose Friends since it’s my ALL TIME FAVORITE show.
I also won this cool NBC notebook:
In conclusion, it pays to pay attention.