I'm working with an IT MNC for 2 years but always dreamt of becoming a copywriter. When I visited one of the top ten ad agencies in india, the creative director read my dummy ads.
He said that he sees a lot of passion for adverting in me but I know a very little about advertising. so, he has offered me an unpaid training of 3-4 months. He told me that after i finish the training, either he'll confirm me or i'll have to search the job again.
Till that point I'll have a good collection of ads which will help me find a job. He'll also refer me to somewhere. "This is how the industry works and even I did the same", he said in the end.
So, I just need an advice regarding the same.
My response: I think this is a golden opportunity for you - grab it with both hands.
Getting a foot in the door is the most difficult part of making a career switch and you have just succeeded in doing it!
I think an unpaid internship with a good organisation is priceless. However, today most people feel bad about taking it up. At the same time they will happily spend a couple of lakhs on a 6 month course which will supposedly equip them with 'all they need to know'.
Three months unpaid training means you meet only your living expenses. And even in a city like Mumbai, you can choose to slum it out and get by on 10-12 k a month (think relatives, friends, PGs, hostel).
And yes, this is how creative industries work. Not just advertising but filmmaking, photography, art. Even when you get converted to a 'paid' worker, you need to constantly learn and grow on the job and you learn more and grow more working with the best people in the business.
These people test your commitment by making you slog. By making you struggle and not giving you a free lunch. This trial of fire is what makes coal into diamond.
Enjoy the ride, go with the flow, create, experience and live each day fully.
Write back to me the day they publish/ air your first ad :)
P.S. Here's an old column I wrote for rediff.com - Kya aap copywriter banna chahte hain - still relevant.