Confessions of an Intern
Posted by Liz Seasholtz on May 3, 2011
When you’re new to the cubicle world, mistakes are bound to happen. It’s all about taking your gaffes stride, learning a lesson, and chuckling about it in retrospect.
“When I was a college intern at a radio station, I worked for a not-so-nice marketing director. One afternoon, I made the comment to one of the radio personalities that she was a ‘witch.’ I later found out that they were dating!”
Lesson: Avoid workplace comments about your boss. Period.
“Although I had held many internships, I had gotten away with not making coffee, ever. Then my supervisor asked me to make some, and I pressed the wrong button on the coffee machine. Water started spewing everywhere and I flooded the entire break room.”
Lesson: Ask if you have no idea how to complete a task.
“I was interning at a magazine, and was assigned to accompany a reporter covering a premiere at the Metropolitan Opera House. Since I’d be standing on the sidelines, I didn’t dress up. The reporter ended up having an extra ($15,000) ticket to the show, so he took me. I was wearing flip flops at a black tie event.”
Lesson: Dress professionally when you’re on the clock.
“While interning at a law firm I accidentally pushed the alarm button when working at the front desk. Since I hadn’t fully learned the phone system, I accidentally hung up on the cops when they called to confirm they were needed. Minutes later, they called back and demanded I exit the building, which I did, only to be surrounded by cops with their weapons drawn.”
Lesson: Master the phone system on day one.
“I accidentally CC’ed my entire office on a email chain circulating with my family. The email was about a government conspiracy article, and my very conservative family kept hitting ‘reply all’ and sharing their explicit opinions.”
Lesson: Don’t use your work email for personal messages.
“We had completed a big project, so our department went on a celebratory lunch cruise. Everyone got a drink ticket for one free drink. Since there were interns under 21, I decided to ask one of them for their ticket. Turns out, the intern I asked was talking to the department head, whom I didn’t know. I looked like a lush.”
Lesson: Keep it classy when boozing at work events.
“I had to order and pick up lunch for a partner at my company, and she wanted a turkey and cheese sandwich. She started to eat her sandwich and got a disgusted look on her face—the restaurant had forgot to put in the turkey, so it was just mayo, cheese, tomato, and lettuce.”
Lesson: Double—or triple—check all assignments.