I Believe the Children Are Our Future

We have lots of interns where I work.

And, um… I kind of hate them.

When did it become acceptable to come to your not-yet-job inappropriately clothed? Can someone tell me this? I’m no prude, and I’m not yet of the age at which I rant uncontrollably against any young thing who looks good in something I could never pull off. It’s fine. But why are you wearing it here? You get that this is, like, a job, right? You would wear that to work? Work-work? And if you’re not scantily clad, why are you wearing jeans and a tank top?

Really?

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate them because they’re young and have no cellulite. That’ll smack them in the face soon enough, when they learn that they don’t have to be fat to have cellulite. I hate them because one of them refers to herself as “mini-hottie.”

I did not. Make. That. Up.

You hate them too, now, don’t you?

Fine, so it’s just the one insipid girl who refers to herself that way. But I blanket them with my irritation because I can’t tell them apart. There’s one blonde. The rest of them are brunettes like “mini-hottie.” I’d have to see her in the exact same outfit she was wearing when I heard the reference in order to know for sure which one she is. And they all end their sentences with question marks? Even declarative sentences? That doesn’t help.

I shared my disdain with one of my co-workers yesterday, via computer IM. “Is it me, or are these interns a lot more annoying and loud and pushy than we were when we were interns?”

“I totally just said that yesterday, when one of them was offering me advice on how to do my job,” was the reply.

“NO. WAY.”

“Yeah. She’s actually really sweet, though.”

“Which one is she?”

“Her name is Paige.” (Of course it is.)  “Thick accent.”

I have no idea which one that is, because I try not to talk to them.

“Is she the one who refers to herself as ‘mini-hottie?’ One of them calls herself ‘mini-hottie.'” I told her.

“Jesus.”

Truth is, I don’t have a problem talking to the interns if they have a question or even if they’re just sitting there. I have a sister their age; I’m comfortable with the general population. The actual hang-up is I don’t know what to tell them anymore. I used to be the one all the interns came to. I’m good at training people. I’m happy to teach them the ropes of what we do, as we do it. But it’s changing a lot, and nobody knows where it’s going, and therefore the best sage advice I can give them when they ask what they should know (if they don’t already think they know everything) is, “Go sit with the web people. That’s what you need to know.”

When I was an intern, 427 years ago (fine, 14), I had a lot of get-up-and-go. I had a lot of initiative. I had a lot of drive. But I didn’t have the nerve these kids have. I didn’t cackle and joke around with the established professionals like I had worked there for years. And I wasn’t so presumptuous as to think I could offer them tips, that they worked for me; that they would have no problem doing something for me, finishing a project for me, answering questions for my homework assignment. (One of them actually grabbed one of my six bosses – this is the #2 ranked boss – and asked him to answer some questions for her on a sheet of paper for her blog entry assignment. I’m writing a freaking blog and I was annoyed. And he did it! It was 6:30pm, time for him to go home, and he did it. Sucker.)

When I was an intern, I knew I had something to offer: namely, free labor. I would do whatever those people wanted me to do, and I would do it for free. I gave away hours. I worked many, many more hours as an intern than I got college credit for, because I wanted them to give me a job. My internship was a three-month interview. These kids? No way. These kids are there for exactly the amount of time they need in order to get the college credit, and that’s it. And during that time, they’re not working for us so much as they’re working for themselves and using our stuff (and some of our staff) to accomplish their goals, and don’t get in their way, okay? Thanks.

There was one kid last night who wore a shirt and tie and did what he was supposed to, asked good questions and was willing to do whatever, without any sense that he deserved anything from us. Also, he remembers who Neil Young actually is, and not just the Jimmy Fallon version of him singing the Neil Young-esque version of “Whip My Hair” by Willow Smith.

I think he’s going to be my favorite. Him, and the girl who really can’t write to save her life, but is trying really hard and asks for help because she knows there’s something she can learn.

I suppose, when I was an intern, there were some annoying ones in the bunch; just not where I was. We worked hard, and we’re all still working hard, in the same business. We did our time, proved our worth and now we’re making our livings practicing a dying craft. Meanwhile, a new crop of 20-year-olds has walked in, feeling like they own the world, and we’re there to make their lives better. They want to do something that’s not going to be around in a recognizable form in five years. They have no idea. But then again, someday, they’re supposed to be helping us out. They’re the ones who have to reinvent what we’re doing now, and somebody’s got to teach them the foundational stuff, the stuff that was around before Facebook and Twitter and cell phones, so they don’t cock it up later. Fine. I’ll help them to the best of my ability, even though I have no idea what’s going to be happening in five years.

As long as no one refers to herself as “mini-hottie.” When I figure out which one of them that is, I’m totally taking her down. 
———————
Featured image from thecampussocialite.com

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19 thoughts on “I Believe the Children Are Our Future

  1. “mini-hottie”… *shudders*
    maybe she’s from somewhere else, and that’s just how her name sounds? maybe it’s like Mineghothe … and she’s… a very strange background… yeah, i can’t think of any language that would come from… Take her down!

  2. Mini-hottie? Seriously? At work? Oh the tempation to smack her would have been unbearable. Funny, my niece is an intern and she was just speaking about how clueless a few of the interns are where she is. Don’t get me started on the whole entitlement thing that these guys seem to have going. And my little sister commented on how she gave her intern a huge time-critical project, and, upon inquiring how she was doing with it, said intern told her, “Oh, I’m working on my own stuff now.” My sister said her assistant practically had to hold her back. It’s a trend. I think we need a new name for interns.

    • That’s exactly what I’m talking about. And I don’t know whether to be irritated with the kids, or the professors to tell them to do their own “stuff” at their internships. What should we call them? Self-Helpers? Out-turns? Moochers? Ungrateful brats?

  3. You are right about me hating her just knowing she refers to herself as mini hottie. WTF…why ” mini” is she small? OR is she minimally hot? I don’t get that.

    As far as when did this start. Forever ago. I managed a bank when I was your age (so about 24 years ago) and the young girls that came in for work experience, I always started them on the teller line. The regular tellers still wore suits and heels in the 1980’s. Truly 25 years ago we didn’t even wear slacks in banks. Navy-ish suites…Anyway the young tellers came in very casual trendy clothes, looking all cute and the layers of bank presidents and Vice presidents went insane on the spot. Gush, gush, drool, winky winky. Of course, me and one of the other Vice Presidents were there to do the work and clean up all their assorted mistakes.

    It comes down to different age groups can carry off different behavior. You can get by with being all fun and cutesy when you are twenty. That doesn’t fly so well later. Each workplace will upon occassion have within the ranks of the interns, those that take their jobs extremely serious and don’t act like interns. We missed our chance to act like a goof ball 20 year old. For me, I might not have been enough of a hottie or flirty enough to get by with it.

    • Ha… I wondered the same thing! Why “mini?” Is she implying that her mother is “maxi?” I think it’s because she’s small…. they’re all small…
      Did it really start forever ago? Did I just miss a memo when I was 20? I think you’re absolutely right about that last part; I did miss my chance to act like a goofball 20-year-old. I will blame myself for that; I took myself too seriously and didn’t have enough self-confidence. Wait: I had confidence in my intelligence and my talents. I did not flatter myself in any physical regard. That’s the problem here, I think; they flatter themselves physically. It took me longer to gain physical confidence, but by the time I did, I was an established professional and I was taken seriously, and I didn’t use it to get professional attention. These girls have a lot to learn.

    • It’s a tough business, yeah. Not so tough on the interns, though. 🙂 (PS one of my co-workers just came up to my side of the room and said, “I’m moving up here. I can’t sit back there with the interns anymore. It’s like living in the Barbie Dreamhouse.”)

  4. We don’t have interns where I work, but we get our fair share of college kids…some are great workers, sweet, respectful…but then there are the ones who are too good to do the job I ask them to do…I actually had one girl tell me we didn’t pay her enough money to do what I expected her to do (and it was nothing I hadn’t done many times)…one good thing, that girl no longer works for us…ahh…firing as revenge!!!

    • Hello there! Thanks for visiting. I’m so glad that girl was fired! That’s what should happen if a kid says they don’t get paid enough to do what you expect them to do. (I know that might not be the reason she was sacked, but you see my point.) You’re in college. What do you think you should make? When I finished my internship, I got paid $7.00 an hour to do things people get paid $60,000 or more a year to do. And I liked it. (Let me put my teeth back in…)

  5. I will sound like a jerk by this remark, but feel inclined to make the comment anyway.

    It use to be a certain “class” of people that felt they were entitled to have everything handed to them, now that has transcended to a generation who have been given everything by their parents, worked for nothing and feel everything is owed to them.

    We had an intern here 2 years ago that got paid $10 per hour and did nothing but surf the internet the entire summer. He refused to come back the following year because he felt that the other employees “didn’t like him.” I wonder why?

    • Our interns don’t get paid. They are enriched by experience – just like my generation of interns were. And we were soooo hungry for it. I don’t know how many interns we have, because most of them look alike, and they’re there on different days and shifts, but I’m going to guess there are about eight right now… and I think maybe two of them are hungry for it. Sadly, those two have a long way to go before they’re going to be able to construct a coherent sentence. But they’re trying, and they’re nice kids. I’m guessing they may not have had as much growing up. If it weren’t for my little sister, I’d have a hard time liking the general crop of 20/21-year-olds wandering the earth these days.

  6. My daughter was the anti-mini-hottie-intern. (Not that she’s not hot.) But when she got an internship last summer, she was so thrilled to be working there, and so enthusiastic about the place, her job, and everyone there, that she couldn’t believe they were paying her. Fast forward to last month. She graduated and they offered her a job which she was ecstatic to accept.

    Good jobs are still out there, but why would someone want to hire an unmotivated, whiny idiot? I feel sorry for these kids (but more sorry for you!). ps. Love the title – tee hee!

  7. Dear thesinglcell,

    While I agree with you 100%, and I have true sympathy for you and all of your co-workers, particularly those still stuck in the not-such-a-Dreamhouse, I do have one small and teensy weensy huge concern that I can’t seem to get past. My concern is self-centered, that is true, but it is a real concern, perhaps even a life and death concern. It is actually more of a crisis than a concern: how am I ever to get that song out of my head? Any help would be appreciated and, quite frankly, deserved, since this is all your fault.

    Sincerely,
    skippingstones

    PS: “I believe I can fly, I believe I can touch the sky…” Etc. Etc. I’m sorry, but you had it coming.

    • Dear skippingstones,

      I’m Henry the Eighth, I am, Henry the Eighth I am I am. I got married to the widow next door, she’s been married seven times before and everyone was a Henry (HENRY!) Never was a Willy or a Sam (NO SIR!) I’m her eighth old man, I’m Henry… Henry the Eighth I am, I am, Henry the Eighth I am…

      SECOND VERSE: SAME AS THE FIRST!

      Dammit. I think I’ve earwormed myself.

      • I went to wash my hands and that damned children song just popped right back into my head. I cursed your name, silently. The key is to keep your mind occupied with other things. See how quickly I got back to you – keeping busy.

        By the way, I much prefer Henry the Eighth. At least I know all the words.

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