The Dishwasher Test

Peirene interns are intelligent, motivated individuals before they even startgeography-fieldwork-photos-144working with us. However, by the time they finish interning here, they have developed a set of unique skills, I am sure any future employer would be thrilled to have.

So how do the Peirene ladies train them up?

Not everyone who applies receives an interview. And not everyone who is interviewed obtains a place.

It’s a careful selection process. After all, the intern has to satisfy all three Peirene ladies. The Nymph wants spark. Maddy is looking for the ability to conceive of literature as a marketable product. And I’m searching for signs of initiative and thinking outside the box.

Furthermore, we do not offer:

Photocopying experience: I like to do this myself because it gives me a break from intellectually more demanding work.

Tea making experience: Maddy likes to do that, for same reason as I like photocopying.

Spoon feeding: We assume that by the time people have reached their early twenties, they are able to eat with knife and fork.

And this is the exposure we provide:

Transferral of skills: How to use skills learned at school and university in a work environment and employ them to use tangible results.

Development of projects: We encourage our interns to deliver projects of lasting impact. Will, our first intern, set up the Novella page, Alex (our second intern) researched and approached gift shops to stock our books. Andrew, our current intern, is setting up the Peirene Nanowrimo writing competition for us.

Dishwasher loading: how to stack up a dishwasher in a most economical way.

This last point is unique to Peirene. And usually proves to be the biggest challenge for any intern.

The intern lunches with Maddy and me in the kitchen. We tend to have soup, bread and cheese. Afterwards the dishwasher is stacked. When in the evening I open the dishwasher I can see if it was done correctly. I strongly believe that if you know how to stack a dishwasher you are in control of your life and thoughts. I have learnt this wisdom from my mother. My children and husband have so far not succeeded. They load the dishwasher without any method. Our current intern Andrew, however, has great potential. He will be with Peirene until Christmas. By then he will be a master-loader of the dishwasher, a marketer of fine literature and a worthy candidate for the best jobs in publishing.

Please note our website uses cookies to improve your experience. I understand. For more information see our Privacy Policy .