Intern Etiquette

Posted by Cara Scharf on May 3, 2011
Intern Etiquette
Most interns will hit a few bumps in the road. But others seem to have a penchant to crash and burn. We spoke with real managers to get stories of their most bungling, bumbling, and blundering interns. Hopefully they'll inspire you how not to conduct yourself.

DWI: Drinking While Interning

“A few interns at my consulting firm got bored during an annual picnic and decided to play drinking games-in front of all the higher-ups and guests (including family and children). When one manager tried to convince a boozed up intern to stop drinking, the intern had the audacity to tell the manager off.”

Deflate Your Ego
“While working for a congressman we had the most pompous summer intern. He shirked menial duties and only respected top-level staffers. One morning I asked my boss what he needed me to do. From a nearby computer, the intern said, 'You can grab that paper off the printer for me.' My boss just looked at me and said, 'What was that?'”

Work Time Isn't Naptime
“We had interns who routinely took group siestas. They'd turn the lights off, close the door, and put their heads down-even in their windowed office. Our director of research scolded them and he interns admitted they were bored. They had opted to nap instead of bettering their situation!”

Show Skills, Not Skin
“Several interns at my nonprofit had to be told not to dress like they were at a nightclub. In one case, a girl wore a completely see-through black top and fishnet stockings.”

Let the Adults Talk
“I had one intern who regularly used baby talk to speak to people in the office. It grated on the ears of everyone around her. I think she thought it was cute, but she needed to realize that cute doesn't belong in the office.”

Say It To My Face

“We recently had a summer intern who we thought was perfect. But a few weeks in, we heard she was complaining to coworkers that she was unhappy. I approached her twice but both times she said everything was fine. She didn't unleash her true feelings until her exit interview. On her last day, she didn't even bother coming in.”

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