Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ahhhh The Intern

I don't know if I should shake my head or cry at this point... but this kid is killing me!! There are just some things that can't be taught... so I'll just lay out the five most recent stories for your enjoyment - and maybe so that you can't feel sorry for me in some small way too.

Last Tuesday, we asked the intern to attend the event that I took pictures of for an additional set of hands - and an additional camera to be strolling around. This couldn't have been more wrong on our part! For starters, in one of the classrooms they had an opening speaker for the employees of Shell (the sponsor of the day's event) - and the intern kept walking in and out of the room interrupting the speaker every time. I really didn't notice it being that bad until one of our Vice Presidents smiled and positioned himself in front of the door to the room. At that point - I told the kid to stay put and not move until the speaker was finished.

Second story takes place at the same event last week - this time... while taking pictures... (I truly shake my head at this one) he didn't know the concept of a candid photo. I guess I take this for granted because at his age - I was taking photos for the yearbook and newspaper at school - so I KNEW what I was doing. Anyway - back to the kid story... the premise of the event was that we'd have a couple of big events for the kids along with some smaller workshops for the to learn about finding a job and interviewing. Well, intern boy busts into the workshops and actually interrupts the speakers and lessons to get them to pose for photos. UGH! I had to stop him and explain to him that his job was to stand back and capture pictures of what was happening - NOT take posed pictures of the people. We needed images of their interaction with the youth... not a picture of some random people smiling together.

Third story is at the same event, yet again. (This was a tough day for us) At the end of the day they had a panel discussion so that the youth could ask questions about the things that they'd learned all day. For some reason, when the youth all gathered up in the gym - for the drums and for this panel discussion... the intern decided that he needed to participate instead of work. Whatever. Anyway, we actually lost him in the crowd. He had a different shirt on than all the other kids - so that we could easily pick him out during the day if needed - but he put on a black hoodie for this event, and we couldn't find him. Eventually - I did find him... and he'd put the hood up on his sweatshirt... and I'm not kidding when I tell you that he looked EXACTLY like the unabomber or something... he looked like he was ready to take the whole group out. Nice.

Fast forward to yesterday, and imagine the look on my face when I got a phone call telling me that my intern was wandering around the building and parking lot aimlessly. Seriously? He was just wandering... like as if he needed a break, but instead looked like he was going to break into someone's car. (He wouldn't do that, but it did look fishy.) We have told him before that he could get up and take a break from staring at the computer from time to time if he felt like his eyes needed a short break. By short, we meant 5 minutes... maximum. These breaks are becoming longer and more frequent... and creepier! By break, we thought he'd go out in the middle of our building and sit in the atrium for a minute... go talk to another intern for a minute... or go to the restroom... walk over to Wendy's (next door) and get a drink... NOT wander aimlessly in the parking lot!

Finally, the latest is that he's sending rude emails. Not only to me, but they were meant to be sent to a couple of other people in our department... only he got the names wrong and sent them to people outside of our department - who were completely offended by the emails.

Here is what the email said:

I wanted to know if you could get the R. House pictures to me by next Tuesday. Please tell me what exactly you do in NCI. Don’t get into useless details, but don’t be too general. Expand to a limit. Also tell me why your job is important to the development department and NCI. Your email will be a part of the script. Tell me the name of the projects I have completed, and the project I am doing, along with a brief description.

  • Somethings just can't be taught... but the tone of the email is wrong - can you imagine sending this to YOUR supervisor?
  • The whole useless details thing just flat ticks me off... you're asking for my help but at the same time you think my job has useless details?
  • What in the heck does "Expand to a limit" mean exactly?
  • "Your email will be part of the script" - for what?! Lastly, does he not know the projects he has worked on? He needs to come up with his own description for what he's done.
Our interns are asked to come up with a presentation that they present to several members of our management for cash prizes. I feel like he's trying to get us to do this for him, and the approach is wrong...

The bottom line with this one though is that email communication is just not something that I can teach him... because honestly - this is EXACTLY how he talks too. The social skills are lacking to a point that I don't know how to even begin to help him.

All I know is that I am sooooo ready for this internship graduation ceremony to begin on August 6th. (Don't get me started on how silly a graduation event is for a JOB!) Calgon... take me away... or directly to August 7th!


  1. The number of responses I have in my head right now are many, although equally rude. I'm not sure I'd even know where to begin. I mean, when he doesn't even understand the chain of command and respect the people he directly reports to, it kinda makes you feel like your hands are tied. I guess what really boggles my mind about this is that anyone - ANYONE - at the management level tolerates his behavior on the job and doesn't reprimand him. It seems like he's being given carte blanche to do as he pleases. Hello? Why doesn't anyone step in and set this kid straight? He's already way too big for his britches...what next??

  2. Good grief!

    On the one hand, I sympathize because they're nothing worse than being an intern and not knowing protocol and feeling like you're doing everything wrong. But it doesn't sound like he's at all worried about it!

    The photo thing is just odd... all you have to do is observe what others are doing and do likewise. Maybe he has some actual documented social disability or something.

    That email is ridiculous. Either he's forwarding the instructions from his school's internship coordinator on what he's supposed to report, or it's like internal cash prize thing... either way, totally inappropriate and he should probably be told. Interns don't get to make direct statements like "do this" and "dont do that." They have ZERO authority to ask anyone for anything, and he needs to understand that!

    THIS is why so many companies say forget interns--they're more trouble than they're worth!

  3. oh my. you do need some calgon. stat!

  4. I certainly feel for you! Your intern seems to sadly reflect how many young people nowadays are clueless about basic job skills.

  5. Should this kid even graduate? I'm thinking flunk him and send him back to elementary school till he can learn some socialization skills!


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