Tuesday, June 09, 2009
Anyway, one of our interns who was very smart and probably would have worked very hard, got a job interview after two weeks on the job. Intern coordinator actually gave a bad reference because it had only been two weeks. The rest of the office was irate, but intern coordinator didn't remember who had called so we couldn't call back to fix it.
Intern wound up getting the job anyway. Turns out, it paid more than intern coordinator. When she came to announce the news, intern coordinator couldn't manage to make it out to say congratulations.
About two weeks after she arrived, I asked her to put together a short one-page memo outlining the content, sponsors, and progress of a piece of legislation I wasn't familiar with, figuring I could look it up myself but it would be interesting for her to research. At the end of the day, she stopped by my office and handed me a stapled stack of papers. She had copied and pasted the Wikipedia page of the bill, including the reference links at the bottom, formatted it into 12-point Arial font, and removed the hyperlinks. She also failed to notice that the page wasn't even about the correct bill I had asked about--it was an old piece of legislation from a past session.
She then asked me how a bill becomes a law. I tried to explain it, but she didn't understand that Congress has committees. I was so flustered, all I could do was repeat "I'm Just a Bill" from Schoolhouse Rock! to try to explain it to her.
Worst Intern Ever.
Suddenly, a woman who I've never met approaches me and tells me I'm giving my tour wrong. She then apologizes to my group for them having such a bad guide. I ask her nicely what the hell she's doing, only to hear her reply that she's a senior staffer and that she knows the rules of the House better than I ever will. I asked to see her badge; she said it wasn't important.
I finally demanded to see it, and you guessed it: intern.
After I see her badge, she returned to her group, head down.
She takes a seat across the aisle from me and turns to the boy next to her and says incredulously "Is she [the driver] serious? I mean, I was just crossing the street!" The boy looks at me and rolls his eyes as the girl continues, "I mean, I really can't be late to work. I just really can't."
Three minutes later, I get a knock on my door. One of the interns is there and says "Mr. [My Name], I can't figure out how to enter that number sign you gave me in my password."
I can't tell you how fun this summer will end up being.
My favorite intern moment ever.
Intern Roommate: I met some Congressman today, he seemed to think he was all important but he just just an old dude.
Me: Who was it?
Intern Roommate: Some guy named Steny, dumb name.
Me: Steny Hoyer? He is the majority leader.
Intern Roommate: No you idiot that is Nancy Pelosi. I thought you knew something about politics.
This is a story about an intern in my office last summer. Let's just say that his first-day behavior should have been a warning.
On his first day, the new intern was given the fairly harmless task of folding response letters and stuffing them into envelopes to mail to constituents. The new intern's first day happened to be the day after Memorial Day, so Congress was in recess, and our boss's personal office was empty. The new intern proceeded to take the stack of letters from his desk and move into our boss's office to complete the task. Furthermore, the new intern decided the best place to fold and stuff was at our boss's desk. However, being a first-day intern and thinking he already knew how everything worked in the office, the new intern licked all 100+ envelopes to seal them.
We have glue sticks for that.
The intern finally acknowledged the many dirty looks by fellow passengers, attempts by our driver to close the doors, many warnings that you cannot lean on the doors, and threats that she would kick everyone off the train if whoever was leaning on the doors didn't stop. Said intern acknowledges this by saying "I like how everyone is giving me dirty looks, its not like my foot is sticking outside the doors! You'd think that with all this technology Metro would have a sensor to tell you which car and which door was the problem."
Metro doesn't need sensors to do things like that, they just need you to stop leaning on doors and hitting the door sensors, then trying to pass it off as someone else. Next time try leaning on the wall, or holding on to a railing like the rest of us do.
Apparently, our summer intern from a few years back was hoping to conduct policy briefings for the Senator during his first week. Unfortunately, this did not happen and he packed his bags after the first week. What a terrible loss of talent the Committee endured from his absence. Although this masterful resignation letter seemed to fill our void.
This was actually sent to the Committee. Enjoy! We sure did....
I am writing to express my gratitude for being offered the chance to work in the office of Senator XXXXX. An internship represents the opportunity to gain valuable work experience and an insider's view of the political process. Therefore, it is with considerable regret that I must tender my resignation. This decision has been a difficult one for me, reached after a considerable amount of soul-searching. I have had to make a choice based upon academics, aptitude, and my personal finances.
Earlier in the summer, I had the opportunity to work in the office of Senator XXXX. In so doing, I fulfilled a requirement for my major, which was a key factor in my seeking an internship in the first place. Additionally, I learned a great deal about the internship experience, rendering much of my current activity redundant. I worried that this might be the case before coming to work for the senator and I expressed these concerns to the intern coordinator. He said that there was a position available for me on the XXXX Committee and, fearing the burden upon the committee my absence might create, I agreed to come.
Unfortunately, since coming to work for the XXXXX Committee, I have been assigned to duties to which neither my skills nor proclivities incline me. The work has been entirely administrative, consisting of making scans and copies for members of the staff. My previous internship experience had left me with no illusions: I understand that the role of an intern is to perform a considerable amount of menial labor. At the same time, my understanding was that the volunteer services of an intern are tendered in exchange for the learning experiences embodied in substantive work. Such work has never materialized. In fact, when I raised concerns with members of the staff, I was merely told that substantive work might--or might not-become available in a week or so. This prospect was not reassuring.
Of the low-skill work I have been assigned, there has not been enough to fill my time. Members of the staff can attest that I approached them seeking additional work. Despite this initiative, since coming to work for the XXXXX Committee, I have been unwillingly idle for hours at a stretch. There does not seem to be a pressing need in the office for my services after all.
Upon examining all of these factors, I can see no alternative but to end my brief tenure of service for the committee. I leave you with my sincere thanks and warmest best wishes.
Inside the elevator, the rest of her intern swarm laughed. No one else did.
The Officer yelled at him to stop but to no avail. Finally, he grabbed the kid get him to pay attention, at which point the hilltern flashes his scarlett letter and yells "Get your hands off me you Rent-A-Cop." It was like a sad re-enactment of Lloyd Christmas shouting "It’s ok...I'm a limo driver" in Dumb and Dumber. Unfazed by hillterns comically unjustified powertrip, the Officer grabbed the scarlet letter, wrote hilltern's info down and sent him on his way.
Intern 1: (Rummaging around in her giant purse looking for her intern badge/scarlet letter). I can’t find it, I guess I must have left it at home. Oh well, no tours for me today (she says this happily).
Intern 2: Oh my god, we should like totally do that! “Forget” our badges so that we don’t have to give tours! That’s awesome!
No interns, it isn’t awesome. I don’t really know what you thought your job was going to be, but tours are an integral part of it. And if your office has to send the staff assistant out to give a tour (who is likely also your intern coordinator) expect to be on tour duty for the rest of the summer as retaliation. Maybe this problem could be solved if you wore comfortable shoes instead of your weekend shoes to work – I’m a fan of heels too, but even I don’t wear them on days that I know I’ll have to be standing or walking a lot.
Congratulations, you hooked up with an actual staffer, not just an intern. This brings you so much closer to the policy world, really, you’re virtually writing the laws of our country by virtue of your proximity to an actual male staffer. Your mother would be so proud.
Female intern has placed her umbrella and purse through the metal detector, so she’s clearly familiar with the machine, and has mastered the idea that certain items used daily contain metal. However, she’s still holding her can of diet Coke in her hand. The Capitol police officer (because no, interns, they’re not “security guards”) says to her no less than three times (seriously, three) “put it to the side, you can’t take it through.” The look on the dear intern’s face was of total bewilderment – eyes wide, mouth open, desperately trying to interpret was the officer was saying.
Finally, she gets it – “oh, I can’t take the drink through.” The officer didn’t even respond, just shook her head.
She explained, "you're in their city, they're not in yours, get over yourself."
I just want to shout out that not all interns are ill-prepared and I thank you for letting us use YOUR city.
I overheard this conversation between two interns in a Senate elevator this morning. Both interns had pretty severe "valley girl" accents.
Girl intern: Ok so we need to go to Ted Kennedy's office next.
Boy intern: I thought his name was Edward.
Girl intern: Well yeah, but Ted is like a nickname for Edward. You know, like Bill is a nickname for William.
Boy intern: But Ted isn't even close to Edward!
Dear Female Intern:
The slit in the back of your skirt is not meant to show off leg. It is meant to give you some mobility when sitting and walking. If, when standing still, your slit reveals your entire leg right up to where the sun doesn't shine, perhaps your skirt is too tight and/or too short. Crazy as this sounds, please consider purchasing a skirt that fits. Or wear pants. The city of DC thanks you for your cooperation in this matter.
(P.S. Girl in Hart on Monday - this means you. The four male interns walking with you weren't captivated by what you were saying, as you think they were; they were looking up your skirt. Ever wonder why they were at least a full step behind you?)
Yesterday evening, I'm waiting in a cramped barber shop for a haircut when intern #1 answers his phone loudly:
"Hello? Yeah, it's in Dupont Circle...that's on Massachusetts Avenue...you're on route 50?...New York Ave...hmmm, I can't give you directions, but we're leaving now; [intern #2] got his haircut."
That's when I notice that in fact intern #1 was taking up a swiveling chair.
I almost (almost) felt bad for those in his crew that were somewhat adhering to metro protocol.
While walking through the Capitol one day, I overheard an intern telling his tour group the history of the chandelier hanging in the Small Senate Rotunda.
The punchline of his story: "This chandelier is one of the only recovered artifacts from the Titanic."