This Blog Post Has No Pictures (a.k.a. How to Be a Terrible Intern)
It's a dog-eat-dog world for interns in D.C. With over 20,000 of us roaming the streets of Washington every summer it is essential to have your game face on at any given moment. For those of us looking for a job to replace our internship at its conclusion, we treat every person we meet as a potential contact or networking opportunity. With this in mind, I obviously can't give away all my secrets to success, so instead I will give you this handy guide on being the worst possible intern ever. Because remember folks, it's a dog-eat-dog world out there...
1. Share all of your most personal stories with your coworkers within at least the first three days of starting your internship. Trust me, they really want to hear about every past breakup and all those times you swore you'd never drink again.
2. Constantly remind everyone that you are, in fact, working for free.
3. Wear flip flops every day. And jeans.
4. Use all the paper in the copier and don't replace it. Do this at least three times a week and you are guaranteed to make friends with everyone on the second floor workroom.
5. Eat other peoples' food from the office fridge. Oh, and bring those frozen meals to lunch that take more than 10 minutes to cook. Everyone will love that you are so commandeering of the microwave, I promise.
6. When going out to eat as an office make it a very awkward and obvious point to remind everyone, once again, that you are not getting paid.
7. If someone brings in baked goodies for the office, ALWAYS be the first one in line to grab as many cookies as possible. Then loudly proclaim, "You snooze you lose!" to the person who didn't get any cookies. Especially make sure you do this if that person happens to be your boss.
8. When responding to department wide emails always make sure to hit the "reply-all" button every single time.
9. Forget your security badge at least twice a week. The guards are sure to love you.
10. Finally, on the very last day of your internship, make sure you raid the supply closet and stuff your book bag with everything from staplers, to pads of paper, to ink cartridges (even if they aren't the right type for your printer).
If you follow my handy guidebook step-by-step you are sure to do poorly in your internship. This leaves more job openings for me.
All joking aside... do not follow any of these instructions! Unless you really do want to fail at your internship. You don't, I promise. You may not even make it through your first three days if you follow the advice on this list.
Let's get real...
The best advice I could ever offer to you about your internship is in these four small words: "Is there anything else?" I ask my supervisor this every day after we have our daily meeting. It gives her a chance to run through and make sure there's nothing else she needs from me and it also shows her my willingness to take on more than what she has already given me. Be organized. Be attentive. Be enthusiastic about your work and go above and beyond your duties. When unsure, the more professional the better.
Each internship experience is different and it is your job to hone in on that figure out how to make the best of your opportunity. Even if you're not quite ready for the job search you never know when the connections you're making now could open doors later in life. Never burn bridges and if you do, repair them efficiently and effectively.
And remember citizens, always wear pajamas on casual Fridays. Complete with bunny slippers and a snuggie. After all, it's casual...