Thursday, July 28, 2005

"Intern" Stamped on my Forehead

Well tomorrow is my last day as an “intern”…Thank God! Interning has been such a wonderful yet frustrating experience. I know the whole point of having an internship is to learn first hand about the business world and to help you get acquainted with what you will be doing once you have a real job, but at the same time it is so infuriating. As a 22 year old female it is hard to be taking seriously. Most interns are usually still in college, and granted I just graduated in May, I am still treated like I am so much younger then everyone else even when half of my department are between the ages of 24-28.

I understand that I do not have the experience that they have in the business world and that I have a lot to learn, but as I look back it makes me so mad how I was not treated as an equal. On a daily basis I would get comments thrown at me about how I am an intern. For instance, the head woman in my media relations department came into our office and was introducing a new worker at where I am interning at. She went around introducing everyone and then she got to me and said “Oh this is just our intern, you don’t need to know who she is.” OUCH! I am a human being and I am the person who is doing all of your grunt work and without me, you wouldn’t have reporters to come to our events, which creates better publicity for our business which pays you your salary BIATCH.

Another thing that constantly happens is when people in my office ask around if anyone has a quarter or a nickel so they can get something from the vending machine and it happens that every time I am the only one with change. So the response to this is “Oh my god I can’t believe I am taking money from the intern” Um I think I can spare a nickel…I know that I am not getting paid, but I do have some money. It is just really infuriating! An internship is supposed to be a stepping stone into the real world and should be treated as equal within a workplace because once I am gone they will be doing all the grunt work that they load onto me.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love my internship, I just hate that aspect of it. I have learned so much and I have met some really great and intelligent people. I have built many connections that can definitely enhance my career and I am thankful for that and everything they have taught me. I just wish I didn’t have “Intern” stamped on my forehead, then my feelings would be a little different because it is hard enough to work full time without getting paid.

My question is, does this happen every where? Or is it just at the place I am working at?


At 11:43 AM, Blogger Sara said...

I can't believe people treat you that way. Thank goodness this is your last week. I remember temping last summer, before I found my current job, and certainly not being treated as an equal.

I can not get over that lady saying that the new person didn't need to know who you were. What a bitch.

At 12:11 PM, Anonymous Washington Cube said...

Are they wrong to speak to you this way and treat you this way? Yes. Is this the real world? Yes.

Use it as a learning experience so you will never treat people that way as you build your own career...oh yeah...don't seek a job in THAT office.

At 12:18 PM, Blogger cuff said...

Damn I am so glad I never had to be an intern. First, I could no way ever afford to work for free (although come to think of it, being an adjunct instructor comes pretty close to working for free). Second, I would probably not have the patience you must have to put up with the stress for a job that didn't pay anything.

After watching "The Life Aquatic," I find it amusing, in a movie anyway, that people would refer to interns only as "an intern" and never bother with a name.

At 1:18 PM, Blogger DCdramaGrrls said...

I also did time as an intern in DC. Knowing how much it sucks being on the bottom of the totem pole, now that I work with interns in my office I try to go out of my way to make sure things are good for them and try to make co workers do the same.

Our interns are unpaid and very dedicated... we should LUV them!!

Good luck with the next job!

At 1:21 PM, Blogger The Celebutante said...

Thank you so much everyone! It is just so frusterating! Even if I was never treated like this and I had to deal with an intern working with me, I would never treat someone like they treated me. And there are so many stories that I left out because I didn't want to write a novel.
I understand this is the business world and you have to be very business-like...but at least have some respect!

At 2:01 PM, Blogger V said...

This happens to everyone. From my many, many internships, I can tell you that part of it is DC (because people here are so status CRAZY) and part of it is that people are intimidated by "youngins" with new ideas and energy...something many people are lacking.

They treat you like shit to make themselves feel better.
I always give them a smile and then think about how sweet it will be when I get promoted over them someday.

At 2:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

..."because once I am gone they will be doing all the grunt work that they load onto me..."

No they won't they'll just get another intern. DC is, after all, the mecca of interns and internships. It's all part of the hazing process in the real world. But, I guess right now I'm just cranky from having to deal with the intern in our office who expresses the cocky attitude that he "should be treated as equal within a workplace" even though he is not an equal as he's never had a "real" job before. An internship is a learning experience and a valuable one at that. However, don't underestimate the time consumption it takes for an employer to take extra time out of their day to explain how to properly complete an assignment to an intern and then fix mistakes that the intern will inevitable make because it is the first time the intern has ever done such a thing. So, while it was probably not appropriate for your supervisor and co-workers to talk down to you it is also not appropriate to be expected to be treated as an equal.

At 2:57 PM, Blogger The Celebutante said...

ummm what? we are all human beings and we all need to be treated AS EQUAL. It doesn't matter if you are an intern or the VP of a company. It is not fair to be treated like that.
"don't underestimate the time consumption it takes for an employer to take extra time out of their day to explain how to properly complete an assignment to an intern ...."
That by the way is the whole point of having interns!!! To teach them, so they can learn and grow!

At 3:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...we are all human beings and we all need to be treated AS EQUAL..

In theory that's a beautiful statement, but everyone is not EQUAL in the office environment. Hence, why there are titles such as President, Vice President, Department Head, and Intern. Each title, by their nature, denigrates inequality. Like I said in my prior comment, I don't condone the way that you were talked to, but I also don't agree that you are an "equal" in the workplace in terms of your job position. You are right, interning is a learning experience and I do not disagree with that statement, hence why I wrote what I did. It just seemed to me from your post that you were failing to see the intern angle from your employer's perspective. You just came across, to me, as someone that believes that your boss should relate to you as being someone with the same amount of expertise, which you do not have if you are an intern or anyone else in a position lower than hers.

At 3:34 PM, Blogger Sara said...

anon, i'm sure that the celebutante is aware that president, vp, etc are the heads of the company and there is a certain amount of kissing up/respect that is to be held for them and for bosses. i believe the point that she was getting across was that: it's one thing to work below someone else - that happens everywhere, but it's another thing to have people talk down to you or meanly to you just because you don't have as high a position as they do.

nobody should ever say, when introducing a new worker around, that there's no need to know who she is because she's just an intern. that's just rude.

At 3:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not disagreeing with that, I just took issue with the equality notion. Like I said in my prior comment, I don't condone the way that she was talked to.


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