My First Internship

After getting my college degree in the US, I returned to Korea to enlist in the military.

When I was discharged from a 21-month service in the army, I didn’t know what I wanted to do next. I considered preparing for LEET(Legal Education Eligibility Test) to join a law school but soon realized I had no interest in becoming a lawyer.

I wished for an opportunity to escape from the trench of boredom and anxiety. Using a stack of LEET prep books as a pillow, I found myself checking job postings every day. Without telling anyone, I wrote a sloppy resume and CV and sent them to a bunch of companies. A few days later, I received an offer to intern at a travel startup in Seoul.

The internship was incredible. The business development team I joined had the most passionate people in the company. The service was growing fast, and I could freely suggest and lead any projects. I didn’t mind putting in extra hours because I could see I was making a difference.

A few weeks before my 3-month contract ended, my team leader offered me to stay in the company to work as a full-time manager. This meeting surprised me because I never thought of becoming a business manager. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be committed to this career path. My brain was jumbled with futile questions like “What am I good at?” and “What’s my passion?”

I eventually made up my mind and messaged her to say I was interested. I still had to be interviewed by the company’s CEO and COO before signing a new contract. Because my contract was ending soon, HR set up the interview on the last day of my internship.

I wasn’t prepared to prove my value to the company. I didn’t even know what I wanted to do with my life. I noticed the interviewers didn’t have enough time to read my resume either. They asked whether I was genuinely interested in being part of the startup’s mission. In return, I gave them half-baked answers I had overheard in a podcast.

I tried my best to sound smart, but everyone in the room knew I was the exact opposite.