The 8 Commandments of a Righteous Intern
By Ursula Lauriston
In a tough job market, more and more Twenty Somethings are finding themselves in internship jobs instead of full-time jobs. Internships are great, but no one wants to be an intern forever. These eight commandments will help you navigate your internship so you can land that much needed full-time gig.
1. Thou shall not feel entitled… to anything… for any reason…ever
The hardest thing for a recent college grad to do is swallow their pride and start at the bottom of the barrel. Of course, this feeling is understandable. After spending outrageous amounts of money on a college education, who really wants to water plants? But a college education does not prepare you for the professional world. You have to experience it for yourself. Even if you think you know what you’re doing, and you very well could, you still have to earn your spot. No one will respect you if you have something handed to you. Bottom line: check your entitlement at the door.
2. Thou shall be on time
Nothing needs to be said here. You’re an intern. You’re trying to impress. Being late makes the top of the “why we’re not going to hire this intern” list. And “on time” is actually code for “early.” The saying “the early bird gets the worm” is true in more situations than we can imagine. Plus, the first interns to show up get the better assignments.
3. Thou shall do great work
Being an intern is great because no one expects your work to blow them out of the water. The bar is set incredibly low. So if you can string two sentences together and write coherently AND you’re punctual, you are already making a good impression. Make sure your work is up to par. Edit yourself. Check in and ask questions after you hand in an assignment. Ask for feedback. And when criticism is given DON’T take it personally. Just listen and apply what you’re being told.
4. Thou shall not let office politics dictate your politics
If the people in your office don’t like one another or if office morale is low, remember it has nothing to do with you. Don’t let this affect your thoughts about each person. Make your own judgments and treat everyone with respect even when others lack respect for a certain person. Office politics are not your problem—well, at least not yet. Your job is to do great work and get people to like you by being respectful and friendly.
5. Thou shall talk to everyone
Not just who you’re interning for. Say hi and smile at everyone. Be personable. If people like you they will help you. A little kindness can sometimes mean more than you think. And you might even learn new things about yourself and your career aspirations when you broaden your horizons.
6. Thou shall ASK ASK ASK till you receive
Even if you think you’re being annoying, keep asking for more work. You want to be the first person who comes to mind when something needs to get done. That can only happen if you have a can do attitude, ask for work, and hand in quality work.
7. Thou shall not feel bigger than the job
You are super intern. No job is too big or too small. I’m not saying small jobs don’t suck. You want to feel like you’re contributing right? Well you are. Just in the smallest possible way. But no matter how small the job, IT and YOU matter. Attitude is everything. Never act too busy or important to do a job.
8. Thou shall learn to say “I do not understand”
If you are given an assignment and don’t understand what you’re being told, say “I don’t understand.” Well you don’t have to say those exact words but you should let your superior know that you need clarification. Do not be afraid to do this because not doing it wastes everyone’s time.
You’re welcome Twenty Somethings- now go turn that internship into a dream job!