10 Mistakes Interns Make

By Catherine Blake
7th Jun 2016

“Congratulations! You’ve usurped, conquered and annihilated the competition like a merciless mining tycoon, and now you’ve emerged victorious as the ultimate winner. Welcome to the team. Here’s a lanyard and a dossier emblazoned with our mission statement. There’s a great café downstairs if you feel like a juice.”

Music to every intern hopeful’s ears, but you’re not out of the woods yet. There are some fairly obvious hazards that could see you turfed, however there are also some equally damning mistakes you might not even know you’re making and I can personally attest every one of these blunders with my own sketchy history as an intern…

9:00am Doesn’t Mean 8:30am

When it comes to arrival times, far too much emphasis is placed on not being late. To compensate, many interns arrive excruciatingly early for a day of work, which throws your task manager’s schedule out of whack and disrupts the positive energy workflow. Keep it at a maximum 5 minutes on the earliness and spend any extra time rejuvenating in child’s pose.  This goes for interviews too.

Not Reading The Room

New energy is what interns are all about, but some stuff isn’t up for negotiation, and nothing chafes against a team more than interns messing with the pre-existing office culture. Like travels to foreign and exotic lands, make sure you vibe off what everyone else is doing and do your best to observe custom. Keep loud music and violent headbanging to a minimum.

Nicking Off With Office Amenities

No matter how much you’re floundering in the pecuniary pain of student life there are easier ways to procure toilet paper without looting the office loos. Same goes for stationery, kitchen provisions, photos of other peoples’ families and any artwork at reception.

Eating Someone Else’s Lunch

While we’re on the topic of office burglary, eating someone else’s lunch is a trespass against humanity. Someone’s been holding out for those leftovers and you’ve just popped their bubble. Their only bubble. And now there is someone in the office with no lunch, no bubble and nothing to lose. Trust me you do not want to be the enemy of this person.

Watching Porn At Work

I’m just joking. Knock yourselves out, kids.

Overdelivering In The First Week And Then Burning Out

This is by far my worst, most repeated trait. It all starts fairly innocently as you get high off your own enthusiasm completing tasks left, right and centre like an absolute surgeon. But trust me, it doesn’t last forever and soon you’ll end up blowing your load like an F111 that hasn’t realised how far away the base is. Find a steady pace and remember the golden rule: underpromise, overdeliver.

Getting Unduly Competitive With Other Interns

‘We don’t have a favourite. We don’t! We love you all equally. Sure we love you DIFFERENTLY, but it’s the same amount of differently. No you can’t sit at Teddy’s desk. Because he’s on the special taskforce. No, not because he’s our favourite.’ No one has time for this kind of malarkey. You’re all in the same boat; mind your paddles and the work will speak for itself.

Not Bringing In Enough Cake

Cake is the food of love. When’s the last time you fired someone you loved? So many interns miss this crucial step in securing future employment based purely on emotional attachment. Beneath every whiff of salted caramel buttercream is an undercurrent that smells suspiciously like a promotion. Also, it’s not bribery if you licked the bowl.  

Dressing Inappropriately

I swear to God, Miley.

Passing Up A Chance To Network

We know you probably have some really cool, young, hip person’s party to go to, but taking the time to jam social at Friday afternoon drinks will assert your identity as an actual person rather than some faceless desk fodder. Just take it easy on the Dutch courage; being known as the inebriated intern is hard to come back from.

Image credit: MTV

While we're talking about mistakes, have you read 7 Things Your Hairdresser Wishes You Would Stop Doing?

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