Wednesday, June 06, 2007

An Open Letter to Summer Interns

Dear Summer Interns,

Back when I lived in D.C., every year around this time, interns would descend on the nation's capital like a plague of locusts and basically take over the workings of U.S. Government until the middle of August. I'm sure that if most of America knew that the country is being run by college students for a quarter of the year, they would rise up in revolt demanding that the pedophiles, perjurers, and other assorted indictees would get back to work.

In Pittsburgh, the same summer ritual happens, only on a lesser scale. Those with sharp eyes may have noticed a marked increase in the number of young, nubile, and attractive persons mingled amongst those of us who are old, squat, and dumpy. These Logan's Run extras are the interns; the trolls are the regular employees.

So for those interns out there, to make your internship more productive, I have cobbled together a list of suggestions to guide you through your summer.

First, your book learning doesn't impress us much. We don't really care about what you learned in such-and-such class about marginally relevant topic "A". Don't try to educate us on it either, no matter how *great* an idea you think it is. Chances are, we already thought about it and we decided it was a stupid idea.

If you decide, however, that you want to impress the bosses with your abject brilliance, be prepared to have your idea ground up to a little paste and spit back at you.

Second, you're at the bottom of the pile. The organizational chart reads like this:

Big boss -> Assistant bosses -> Managers -> Employees -> Other Assistants -> Consultants -> Temps -> Copier -> Coffee Machine -> Interns -> Carbon Paper.

Don't expect to get the good work; expect to get the work that no one else wants because they're too overworked or they just don't want to do it. This is what employers call "experience."

Don't expect to get good supplies either: your desk, computer, pens, etc. were all left overs from the last employee that left. If you're lucky, your chair will not break as soon as you sit on it and your cubicle won't be inside the restroom.

Third, you're probably not used to the rules of decorum associated with business:
* Dress well, but not too well, and certainly not better than the boss;
* Don't wear business attire that makes you look like your mother dressed you;
* Don't use the phrase "do lunch," especially when you're conversing with your other intern buddies;
* Don't be a douchenozzle;

Violating these rules will result in you being endlessly mocked by the real employees and condemned to endless, deathly dull meetings.

Finally, every now and then, an intern with real talent and discernible skills will slip into the system and will not just be a cute piece of ass for the employees to ogle. That intern will be given interesting projects with the expectation that he/she will perform and will, ultimately be able to translate the work into a job offer or a good job recommendation.

If you find yourself brewing coffee, making copies, or "fetching" things for other employees, you're probably in the "piece of ass" category and should probably act and dress accordingly.

That kind of knowledge is worth 9 credit hours.


The Angry Drunk Bureaucrat

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