From the Desk of a Nonprofit Intern

Desks are useful. They’re glorified tables, but we use them to write, not eat.

Desks are useful. They’re glorified tables, but we use them to write, not eat. Fancy! I’ve used mine to study, create, and, recently, to work. That feels fancy too. I’m Ted Fein, a Temple Advertising student and graphic design intern at The HomeMore Project. We’re a nonprofit dedicated to ending homelessness in San Fransisco. 

At HomeMore, I belong to a few teams (with only one desk!). I enjoy sitting here more now. Work is gratifying. When I complete a task, however small, our work can move forward. A DeskTask benefits my organization, helps my team, and demonstrates my competence. Work is about making things happen, not collecting letters and papers. HomeMore can only make things happen because of our fantastic, desk-seated team. We build community, leverage diversified skills and backgrounds, and exercise CREWativity muscles. 

We do it all with the goal of lifting people from homelessness. Nonprofit work can get emotional. It’s hard to hear the realities of unsheltered living—how long someone might go without a shower. At the same time, it feels good to help. I like the work itself, too. I’ve been helping with a campaign for the Makeshift Traveler, a backpack designed for life on foot. It’s beyond exciting to ideate, write copy, art direct, and illustrate ads for public consumption.

Did I mention this is all happening at my desk? The wait for IKEA customer service has really never been shorter.

Still, There aren’t illustrated manuals for desk jobs. They’re like jobs I’ve had, but they require a different finesse than burger-flipping, child-caring, or martini-glass-ice-carving (long story). I hear professional desk-sitters absorb it. I’m not Bruno-Mars-level dripping in this finesse just yet, but I think I’m damp now.

And I know I would be going into desk work much drier (strictly speaking, colder) if it wasn’t for my time at Temple. So yes, this is a dry run. My learning managers give me assisted tasks. When I graduate in December, I’ll do it for real. It’s terrifying but, at the same time, EXHILARATING. 

I know I’ll miss it here. The time we spend in college is unlike any other on this path of life.

There are still desks, though.

Ted Fein is an Adversiting Art Direction student based in Philadelphia. Find examples of his work and contact information at tedfein.com.

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