I work in a congressional office. We were having a staff meeting in the back office, but left that door open in case the interns needed to reach us. We noticed one of the interns kept opening the front office door and peeking back at us, then would close the door again. Five minutes passed and he peeked in again. He repeated this every five or so minutes until the staff meeting was finished nearly a half hour later. It was only then that we realized there was a group of expected visitors in the front office waiting for one of the staff members. He never once told us that they arrived and let them sit for thirty minutes. Needless to say, none of the involved parties were pleased.
Last week in a Senate cafeteria, my coworker and I overheard two Senate intern girls giggling with each other, apparently over some frozen yogurt. Even some distance away, their entire gossipy conversation was audible, and we made out the girls saying:
Intern 1: “Ugh! This caramel sauce pours so slowly!!!”
Intern 2: “Yeah, but it’s so sexy!”
Intern 1: “Yeah, just like Senator X!”
Next time, girls, try to control the volume of your conversations, and please, don’t compare ice cream toppings to respectable, elected officials.
This morning, my colleagues and I, along with some constituents, were making our way over to the Capitol complex aboard the Senate subway, when lo and behold, we spotted an intern, her grey badge visible, snapping photos of herself aboard the train car in front. Even amongst our audible laughs, the intern continue snapping away, the iPhone flash illuminating her and her badge as she continued striking various poses, obliviousto the silliness of blog-worthy actions.
Today a new intern started in our office. She seemed nervous but clever (she attends a highly regarded university). We decided she was ready to pick up the phones. The first call she answered happened to be the Congressman, who always just says "hi, it's [first name] can I speak to so and so." Unfortunately, this intern did not bother to learn the first name of the Congressman and therefore had no idea who this was on the phone. She preceded to question him about why he was calling and left him on hold for a solid two minutes.
We spent the rest of afternoon teaching her basic facts about the Congressman (such as where the district is), only to have her exclaim at the end: "I'm still not sure why I need to know this."
Hearing my home state mentioned by three interns in the Library of Congress, I was stricken by their lack of geographic acumen. One asked another, who was evidently from Kentucky, where Kentucky was; if it was near Oklahoma. The other asked if it was closer to Tennessee.
Congratulations, interns: one of you was able to name one of the seven states bordering Kentucky.
The internship program in the non-profit that I work for is quite unique. Not only are typical DC intern tasks (like mail sorting and coffee) prohibited, but it offers them an opportunity to publish work under their name, and it's paid. My intern decided to finish her first week by casually declaring that that she'll be falling back to a part time schedule. However, she believed that for 10-15 hours a week, full pay should be maintained. I asked if her school had her attending lectures or additional classes. Nope. "I need to make the best of my time in this area. I need to visit New York and check out Ocean City...you don't pay me enough to have a full schedule." Dear Interns: While you may get picked on or feel like you're being looked down upon, remember that your host office still has a necessary purpose for you. Consider how many people you beat out for this opportunity. Remember that your supervisor most likely started as an intern, too.
This blog is dedicated to those DC residents who eagerly await (or completely dread) Intern Season. Essential to the function of offices in DC, interns are willing to complete tasks that are often considered undesirable. For many interns, this blog will not apply. For those interns to whom it does apply, we hope that you use these anecdotes to change your behavior and, eventually, change the stigma attached to DC interns.
*PLEASE NOTE: As with the viral nature of the Internet, many offices are concerned about anonymity and poor reflections upon them - please be assured that no office or individual will ever be singled out. This blog operates under complete anonymity and will never be of a libelous nature; it will never post any identifying information including, but not limited to: place of work or residence, name, or congressional office. We welcome you to submit any absurd intern stories you are bound to acquire. TWITTER EXCEPTION: we assume you give us permission to re-tweet any submissions you send our way via your public Twitter account.
To the interns: please use this blog as a learning tool. Godspeed and best of luck this summer. email@example.com