A Match Made in Heaven? A Very Special Internship
I have a confession to make: I have an addiction, a reality TV addiction. The Real Housewives, Below Deck, LA Clippers Dance Squad – you name it and I know it. Before I moved out here, I had no idea about channels such as Bravo TV, whose program is mainly dedicated to so-called “reality” shows. One show that really sparked my interest was Millionaire Matchmaker, where rich single people tried to find love through the help of a famous matchmaker. Call me naïve, but until watching this show, I had never heard about this particular profession, nor would I have ever imagined doing an internship at a matchmaking agency – until September 2013. I was in my final semester of Community College, and I only needed to take two more classes in order to transfer to a four-year institution. So, with all that extra time and since future employees look for practical experience, I decided to apply for a public relations internship.
Before I was able to do so though, I needed to get a work permit, since I was an international student and not allowed to work without a specific work authorization. The process of receiving the employment authorization card can take up to three months, so I applied for it way ahead of time in June. Required documents for the EAD application included the forms I-765, G-1145, a copy of your I-94, two identical photographs (which have very particular requirements), a personal check or money order for $380, a copy of all issued I-20s, and a copy of an unexpired passport. Once I had gathered all necessary documents, I sent the application package to a particular USCIS location, where the request was being processed. Once I finally received my EAD card, I immediately started applying for PR internship positions.
But it was easier said than done to get a job, since I didn’t have any prior practical communications experience. I sent out countless applications, until I finally received three interview invitations. One was for a well-known clothing line, one for a record label, and the third one for a matchmaking agency. I had applied for the last one because out of curiosity but didn’t think much of it until I got invited to the interview. After I didn’t get the first two positions with either the clothing line or the record label, I lost hope a little bit. That morning of the final interview, I didn’t feel very motivated at all. But when the interviewer asked me right away what day I could start, I felt relieved. I finally received the chance to set foot into an American business and get some hands-on experience.
I first was pretty skeptical about this internship. Helping the rich finding love was never really on my radar, but then, on the other hand, I was excited to work in such a unique environment and getting a glimpse into the profession of a matchmaker. The agency I interned for was run by two women, my boss Carly and my supervisor Lena (names have been changed due to privacy), who both seemed very dedicated to their work and just loved what they were doing. The first couple days my tasks included lots of research and administrative tasks.
Since I interned only twice a week for usually not more than six hours a day, I mostly had one bigger project and some smaller tasks to fulfill. Even though it was a very interesting environment to work in, I quickly understood that this was definitely not the field I wanted to work in. First of all, what blew my bubble was that this agency had nothing in common with what I had seen on Millionaire Matchmaker (just kidding, I didn’t really expect this to be like the TV show at all). All jokes aside, to me personally, I didn’t feel fulfilled at all working in an environment where rich people showed up with a list of attributes their prospective future counterpart had to possess in order to be even considered for a date. Don’t get me wrong, we had some really sweet, nice, down-to-earth clients.
But we also had some really interesting characters. I never forget this one guy walking in for his consultation appointment with my boss. After approximately an hour-and-a-half of talking to him, my boss confessed after he had left that he will probably never find a match that can live up to his unreal standards. Here is just a short excerpt of what he required: The woman could not be a model, because in his mind, that was not an ambitious job, and he was looking for an ambitious woman. The woman also needed to have at least ten stamps in her passport, meaning that she is well-traveled (I am really not kidding, this was one of his requests). She had to dance on tables when going out and preferably be blonde with blue eyes. This guy used to work four days in New York, while being the other three days in Orange County. Since he had tried several matchmakers in New York with no success of finding a match, he reached out to my boss. To me, it was really no surprise he hadn’t found a match, but that is just my personal opinion.
Another interesting incident occurred when my boss thought she had the perfect match for a 25-year-old female client. She called the woman and told her about the guy. I overheard the conversation and my boss saying things like, “But he does have a Bentley,” and “He does own a lot of money.” When she hung up, she filled Lena and me in. It turned out that this woman on the phone questioned her potential match to be insanely rich, since owning a Bentley doesn’t necessarily mean you have tons of money. Yeah, right. That was the last straw for me to decide that I probably won’t aspire a career in playing Cupid for the more-privileged. Besides those incidents, I did learn some basics about public relations during this internship, particularly about creating content and communications research.
Anne-Kathrin Schulte, is a contributor for CaliforniaGermans.com. She writes on her personal experience of the American Dream as well as on working as an au pair in CA. She was born and grew up in Düsseldorf, Germany, where she completed her degree as a state-approved Kindergarten teacher. After her au pair engagement in the US and a quick return to Germany she decided to attend university in California and moved back to the United States. She has been living in Southern California since 2011.
If you would like to contact Anne-Kathrin, please send an email to californiagermans(at)gmail.com and place her name in the subject line.