Mar 13, 2013

Intern Chronicles: Top 10 Reasons Why You Aren't Ready for Primetime

I have recently come to the realization that some of our youth are just not ready for primetime--let me explain. There are opportunities that present themselves, say an internship with some of the biggest media properties in the world where one would expect if you were to get said internship you would show up with your game face on. Right?

NOT ALWAYS THE CASE! As you know, I work in events at a magazine and there are about 10 other event people in my group representing six magazines. We work at an elevated pace and are pretty short staffed. That is where interns come in. We have mid-semester interns and summer interns and we have truly had some bright stars that have gone on to do great things. However, there are a few that are providing fodder for this week's post, Intern Chronicles: Top 10 Reasons Why You Aren't Ready for Primetime (the following have been compiled over time and not focused on one particular individual)

1. You ask the intern to go through the magazine to look for high end client gift ideas that are no more than $25. What you get in return is a $4 comb, a shelf system and bug spray to name a few. All fine on their own but not for client gifts.
2. You email a request for her to messenger two boxes to an agency and you provide the contact and address of where they are going in your email. Intern responds and calls you the contact name vs. your own (read boo boo, my name is in the 'From' line. its not Laura!) *SMH

3. You come to me and ask me for my Fed ex number so you can send said boxes--WHEN I SPECIFICALLY TOLD YOU TO MESSENGER THEM.

4. I ask you to fax a document to a hotel confirming the entire group's stay. After you've faxed for the 4th time compounded by me on the phone with the hotel saying they are receiving it but its blank, I ask you how you are faxing it? To my surprise I  find out you have the document flipped over. To quote Ms. Sweet Brown, 'Ain't nobody got time for that!'

5. We have an event in another market and ask you to pack a box of Fed Ex slips so we can ship all the materials back to post event. Fast forward to after the event where we have tons of boxes repacked and ready for labeling only to find out you've sent us International Air Bills (after a long day, this is the kind of stuff that makes you want to shake someone).

6. You sit in your cube without anything to do instead of going around to any of us on the team to check-in to see if anyone needs help. Boo, if you've finished your work, trust me we have plenty we can give you.

7. And the reverse, someone asks you to do something and you tell them no because you are busy. Really?!

8. You don't come to work for two days then email two days later (only after your direct report reaches out first) to say you took some medication that knocked you out. In the words of my 3 year old, C'mon!'

9. Being on your social media platforms too much throughout the day (enough for other people to notice).

10. You come to work in an outfit so short that if you sneeze...nothing but booty cakes.

Now this is just a sample and I could go on but you get the point. These are not rocket science requests but yet its like the information doesn't even register. People are busy, they need competent, hungry, young people who want to do the work and who get it. Not folks with 4.0 GPAs with no common sense. Just having a pulse is not going to bake my cookies. It just prolongs the process and defeats the purpose. I want to get home to my children not add extra time to my day for your Tom Foolery.

The Takeaway:  Here are my own golden nuggets for mothers who have kids that go after and secure internships.
  • Bring your best self to the experience everyday
  • Have them do their homework, make sure they feel comfortable with what they are signing up for (ex. What is the daily pace, can they work in a fast environment?). 
  • Tell them to ask questions if they don't understand the assignment, always follow up (yes, I completed this assignment), be sure to answer questions/ correspondence in a professional manner (telling someone your are busy is not the way).
We must always be one step ahead because there is always someone behind you vying for your spot. In an age of immediate gratification it seems that this generation may have some misguided expectations about work culture. Unless you are starting your own company then I suggest you get in (if that is your plan) and absorb as much as you can. Ultimately, we want you all to shine bright like diamonds.




Anonymous said...

Now THIS RIGHT HUR needs to be posted in every school's student management, corporate liaison or the I-need-an-intership-to-graduate office! The lives, careers and internship experiences that would be saved with this post! Thanks @chicbusymom!

Losing in The City said...

This list is so on point and accurate with the things interns need to be mindful of when working. I am concerned that this isn't being taught in school.

Tahesha said...

Wow you must work at my office I have experienced half of your list. The ones that get my goat is the facebook and the outfits.