Friday, May 29, 2009

How Not To Be That Intern

A fantastic reminder of the "dos and don'ts" of interning.


Welcome to Washington, DC and congratulations on your summer internship on Capitol Hill, K Street, White House, or elsewhere. Over the next three months you have paper runs, coffee runs, and envelope licking to fill your days. As a consolation prize, you will be provided an intern badge, conveniently red, fashioned as your scarlet letter. This will identify your status to all of DC. A status that you interpret as “important” and we interpret as “tired” and “obnoxious.”

You will likely spend your days on the Hill and your evenings in Georgetown, U Street, and Adams Morgan. You will order “RBVs” – perhaps without knowing what they are - and hit on girls who are 9s to your 4s and 5s, trying to impress them with your intern badge. It will not work. You may be arrested for using your fake ID at McFadden’s on a Tuesday night for dollar beers, or simply turned away and stumble across the street to the already-overridden-with-interns 51st State. You will wait in line at Old Glory and Third Edition and complain about paying a cover, when there are a few dozen other bars in Georgetown you could frequent instead. You will not understand why the bartenders do not pay attention to you when you do not tip well, or when you treat them with contempt. You will go home drunk, wake up, go to work, and restart the cycle.

Interns are a cause around which all DCers – Republicans, Democrats, Independents, and Militants alike – unite. It’s the one issue upon which the politically motivated and divided DC public truly feels the same – get out of our city and out of our way. Stand right, walk left.

We’ve all been there, we have all had an entry-level or intern position in DC – but we had it without your extreme sense of entitlement … and therein lies the difference. Interns are essential to the function of offices in DC; they are willing to complete tasks that permanent staff are not, and are usually eager to do so. For many interns, this blog will not apply to you. 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 summer interns.

Be polite, know your place, and you will make it through unscathed. Drop your sense of entitlement and pompous attitude, and get the most out of your internship – in the role in which it is defined. So, our sincerest congratulations on your internship, we hope you enjoy your summer in DC; but, heed our warnings and follow our advice. Those of you who do not – we look forward to sharing stories of your drunken evenings, your conspicuously placed badge on your clothing on a non-work day, your obnoxious banter on the metro in the morning, and your inappropriate clothing choices. Cheers!