The Types of Interns You’ll Have This Summer
This article is part of our Summer Friday series. Every Friday we’ll be dropping a new summer related article to get you through to happy hour. Check out all Summer Friday content here and email us at email@example.com if you’d like to guest write.
We are right around the corner from summer, which means 1 thing for office dwellers everywhere…it’s intern season.
Before we get into the blog roasting these little twerps, let’s start off with a point of sympathy for interns. Yes, they are morons who have no clue how to behave in an office and fuck up constantly. Honestly though, can you blame them?
Do you realize how completely unnatural it is to work in a professional environment? Especially for a 19 year old who is in the middle of college and used to hanging out with exclusively other teenagers or mid 60s professors who spent their adulthood learning about Ancient Rome? There’s going to be times when say the wrong thing, dress inappropriately or are completely baffled by what the term ‘deliverable’ means. To be fair, it’s not that weird of a response to the bizarre world of made up rules that is Corporate America. Give them a break.
Types of Interns and How to Deal with Them
1. The Try-Hard
They are convinced that within the course of the summer, they will climb the corporate ladder faster than any man, woman or child in human history. Generally seen most frequently as an investment bank summer associate or at a fast-paced “prestige” industry like fashion, these interns are usually the president of their B-School frat and 100% of the time will update their LinkedIn to say ‘incoming Summer Analyst.’ Sure, they’ll be your boss one day but not this summer.
One of the biggest problems with interns as a group is they sort of sit around and wait to be told what to do. Honestly, it’s completely fair. If you don’t know how a company works, it’s hard to figure out what you’re supposed to do without being told to do it.
This is not an issue with the try-hard intern. They’ll do projects you didn’t even think needed to be done. They might not do them well, but they’ll do them which has value on some level.
Say what you want, but this kid can absolutely crush some Excel and has legitimately taught you a few PowerPoint tricks that you’re going to take back to your day-to-day life. They’re adding value at an incredible rate and you are 100% going to steal their work once they leave. Honestly, they are making you look bad and are a legitimate candidate to steal your job.
- Annoying as All Fuck
They’re so into this job that it makes your life actively worse. You can only do so many 15-minute coffee chats where they ‘pick your brain’ and ask for feedback on their intern project for the 11th week in a row. They are in such a rush to finish their work that a lot of it is wrong or they focused on the wrong thing, but they’re too proud to ask for help.
How to Handle Them: Manipulation
Step 1: Milk them for all they’re worth
If this criminally underpaid kid wants to bust his or her ass this summer, let them. Throw as much of your work as you can at them this summer. You’ll get a chill ass couple of months.
Step 2: Allow them to fail
Ok bud, you really wanna run the show? Time to sink or swim.
Step 3: Put them in their place
At a certain point, you gotta show this intern who is the boss. Publicly humiliate them on an email thread or call. Ask them to do extremely minor tasks that will make their blood boil. Drink them under the table at a company happy hour.
2. Completely Clueless
They’re trying their best here but it’s just nottttt working out. Ideally, it’s not doing active harm to the company but to be honest, it’s starting to get to that point.
There’s generally two types of clueless interns.
1. Smart Kid That Doesn’t Act Right
How could someone with a 4.0 GPA be so genuinely terrible at basic office tasks? Look, we all know that it doesn’t take a genius to succeed in an office setting but what doesn’t get discussed is that being a genius might actually hurt you in an internship. Your brain is so used to solving actual hard problems in college that when it comes time to send a simple email, it shuts down. It’s like a Ferrari driving in the slow lane (a metaphor that I’ll likely never be able to test in real life.)
This kid is undoubtedly smart but should probably get his PhD after college instead of working in management consulting. And that’s ok – the world probably needs PhDs too. I’m not sure why but they probably do.
2. Genuinely Confused How This Person Got the Job
Stunning not only in their complete incompetence when it comes to work tasks, but also their lack of social awareness and ability to navigate an office environment. It’s one thing to not be able to make a PivotTable in Excel but you’ve caught them actively sleeping at their desk. One time they farted in the elevator with you and just laughed it off? What the fuck my guy?
Realistically, if you’re wondering how they got this job, the answer is pretty clear…they were hired as a favor to someone that matters.
How to Deal with Them: Minimize the Damage
After they fuck up their first 2 assignments, it’s time to avoid giving them any and all work for the rest of the summer. Not only will they mess up their work, but they’ll also fuck up your life trying to fix it. Your job sucks enough as it is – you don’t want to have to deal with fixing the intern’s mistakes.
3. Heart’s Just Not In It
A clearly smart person who will likely have a bright future but it’s not gonna be here. They’ll generally complete the tasks you given them pretty well and within a deadline, but after the second week have lost all enthusiasm for the job and leave at 5 pm on the dot every day.
Can you blame them? Your company low-key sucks ass and so does the concept of working for a living. It’s not that shocking that a college student isn’t that interested in ‘digital customer acquisition’ because realistically, absolutely no one in the world is interested in that besides Mark Zuckerberg.
This summer will mainly serve as a lesson for them in what they DON’T want to do in life. There’s generally two paths this kind of intern can take this summer and after graduation.
1. Realize that this life is not for them and do something about it
Luckily for them, they’re getting a jumpstart on their quarterlife crisis. After college they’ll either become an entrepreneur who writes cringey LinkedIn statuses about how they rejected the corporate life (aka one 6 week internship that they didn’t love), try and fail to become some sort of artist, backpack in Asia and teach English, or go to law school. Either way, there’s an 80% chance they return to an office job at some point in their career.
2. Accept that this is life and try to make the best of it.
Most likely describes everyone reading this blog.
How to Deal with Them: Be Straight Up
This kid is here for a line on the resume, a recommendation, and maybe even a job offer for next year that they’ll consider. That’s ok. As long as we understand each other.
It’s ok to be honest with an intern that the job isn’t the most exciting thing in the world. Most jobs aren’t. But if they want a good recommendation or even a job offer for next year, they still need to bust their ass and do good work.
4. The Unicorn
An intern like this comes around once in a millennium. It’s the try-hard without all the annoying parts. They’re genuinely smart, professional and interested in the work. They know how to take the right amount of initiative but don’t bother you. They can hang at a happy hour, at a lunch or just shooting the shit at the desks. They know their place and don’t seem that interested in leaving it this summer.
Most importantly, they have that little spark of joy in their eye that reminds you of the child-like innocence and hope you once had. Seeing the world through their eyes rejuvenates you and gives you energy you haven’t felt in years. You were this close to packing it in and giving up on life until this young breath of fresh air entered your cubicle and taught you how to live.
How to Deal with Them: Learn from Them
They’re going to be your boss one day, so you might as well get on their good side. Also, they’re probably cool as fuck and can teach you Gen Z stuff. Maybe they even want to be roommates next year who knows!