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?
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.
“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.
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