Friday, June 12, 2009

Phishing for Interns

During the Fall of 08 (during the election) I had an intern at one of one of the two largest political national committees here on the Hill. One day she received an virus email (on her work account) that was obviously from a spammer, and of course it was from a crazy long email address. The email asked to enter her Username and Password of her work account. Now, everyone of course knows not to ever give anyone your log in information over email, especially if you are working at a important political committee with highly sensitive information right? WRONG.

She replied to the email with her username AND password, and as the virus infiltrated and started erasing our entire email system, luckily one of the IT guys caught it BEFORE it really took hold. This was so bad that I, as her supervisor, was yelled at for her being so stupid. This one intern could have crippled our entire email network for days.

Spotted: Looking for Thomas

Though I'm a nearly 20 year native of the city, this is my first summer interning here, and am finding myself hanging my head in shame when I go out in public, because of the idiocy of my colleagues. Here's a story from my first few days on the job:
 
One of the admins at the agency I'm in came up and asked for me to research a specific clause of some legislation passed last year. He gave me all the information, said to "get it from Thomas," and have it to him in about 30 minutes. For twenty minutes I went running frantically around the office once, twice, three times, desperately looking for where Thomas' desk was. Finally, I went to the Admin's office and asked him if he could tell me where Thomas sat. The look he gave me was priceless.
 
Now, I knew what Thomas was. I really did. It was just a momentary slip that was made out of first-week nerves. Personally, however, I don't feel it was as bad as half of the things I'm reading on this amazing blog. All I can ask is that you guys keep giving some of us interns second (and third, and fourth) chances. Most of us just want to do our best!

Spotted: Cartwheels

[Ok, so not political interns, but still DC summer interns being a pain in the ass.]

Walking back to the office after picking up lunch, my co-worker and I spotted several "teams" of young people (obviously interns) from a private-sector firm clearly on some kind of scavenger hunt. They were wearing matching handmade shirts with their company logo and team names. We made efforts to dodge them as they ran around in packs approaching strangers and blocking sidewalks. 

The kicker was, we were crossing the street with one of these teams, and they were doing cartwheels in the cross walk (a short light, busy intersection) and taking pictures, clearly documenting this heinous act for the purposes of their contest. One intern got a little overly enthusiastic, bumped into a fellow teammate, and the two of them careened in the way of the other pedestrians.

Intern: It's ok, we get paid to do this.

Me: I hope you get paid a lot.

I got no response. 

To the firm who decided it was wise to send their interns into the streets with a camera on some kind of contest: next time, don't let them put your name on their shirts. And if you have enough money to pay your summer interns, maybe you should pay for some kind of indoor team building activity and spare the rest of us. Or just put those well paid interns to, you know, real work. 

Spotted: Intern Doppelganger

There was a roundtable in the Capitol yesterday that I was asked to attend at the last minute.  After rushing over and arriving a few minutes late (my own fault, embarrassing), trying to fidget with the doors so they quit flailing open (embarrassing), I finally settle into a seat.  The gentleman moderating the event scurries over to me and asks "Which member's office are you with?"  Still a bit flustered, I stare up at him with a confused look.  When he repeats the question a second time, I realized he had pegged me for an intern (really embarrassing).
 
After replying that I was staff at an interested organization outside of Congress, I realized what I was wearing: khakis, the crappy shoes I wear walking to and from Metro and a pastel shirt, sleeves rolled up.  
 
If only I had had a day's notice... 

Heard: Secret Tunnels

This week, I ended up in the same elevator as an intern and her tour group as she was explaining the House/Senate/LOC tunnel system to her small group. Only it didn’t stop at the House, Senate, or LOC. She began explaining how “all the important DC buildings” (including the White House, Supreme Court, FBI Building, and Treasury Department) are all “connected by secret tunnels” under the city. She explained how because she was an intern she wasn’t privy to “all of the tunnels” but that she hoped to make her way “to the White House tunnel at some point.” See if she could “sneak a peek at Obama making a quick trip over to/back from Congress”. I had to stifle a laugh, and didn’t have the heart to correct her.

Heard: If You Need Me, Call Me

On his last day, one of our interns thought it would be nice to show his appreciation to the office by sending out a “Thank You” email to the entire staff.  Below  is the exchange we had shortly after he sent it:

Intern:  Why are certain people replying to only me saying “If you need me, call me”?

Me:  What do you mean?

Intern:  A couple of folks emailed me back and gave me their phone numbers.

Me:  They aren’t here today, that ‘s their “out of office reply.”

Heard: Sign-Off

GChat conversation with one of my friends in DC...

Staffer: Dude, great news over here. Just great stuff.

Me: What happened?

Staffer: My intern just signed off on the idea of [random item]. She told me it works, and she knows because she "researched it freshman year in college." So I'm all in. I was on the fence before, but now I'm good to go.

Spotted: Casual Friday is Not THAT Casual

To all female summer interns:

"Casual Friday" does not mean it's ok to wear your inappropriate Friday night outfit to work.

Heard: You're Old

We have a new summer intern.

After introducing myself to him, we made a little small talk. I asked where he went to school and it turned out he attends the same university I graduated from seven years ago. I told him I went there too, and he perks up and asks what year I graduated. I replied "graduated in 02."

His face drops and replies with ”Oh, wow so a long time ago, huh? I don't know anyone that old.”

FAIL FAIL FAIL

Heard: Eye and I Street

While standing outside of 2000 Penn last night with an undergrad professor, we had the pleasure of taking part in this gem from an obvious intern:

Intern: Where you at? I can give you directions. 22nd and what? Well, which “I” street are you at?

Me: There’s only one “I” street.

Intern: “Some guy from outta town just said there is only one “I” street. What a moron. There’s an “E-Y-E” street and a letter “I” street.

Professor: I’ve been here for twenty years, there’s one “E-Y-E” street.

Intern: “Stupid tourists are interrupting me, sorry. Just keep walking about five blocks or so, they can’t be that far apart.”

His friend was less than a block away. I’m sure they’ll find each other when he finds the other “I” street.

Heard: Judicial Confirmation

Recently I was showing a new intern how to sort mail. She picked up a letter from a constituent with bad handwriting. She asked me what the letter said. I explained to her that the letter was about Sonia Sotomayor. This intern then responded so- so- who? Who is that? I explained who she was. The intern then responded, "I thought judges just took their place."

The best part of the conversation? The intern is in law school!

Spotted: Letter from a Tourist

Our family recently visited D.C. and received a good tour from an intern in our Senator's office.

During our week, we spent a lot of time traveling on the Metro. Interns became pretty easy to spot. We saw the earnest, the wonky, the disheveled, and finally, the pompous drunk. To the fellow with the Tucker Carlson haircut, Ralph Lauren oxford, khaki shorts, and topsiders on the Red Line, your meager attempt to disguise your beer in your SoBe bottle was not successful. Also, we were not impressed with your bold braggadocio over how many beers you had on Tuesday night, but still made it to the office on time.

Maybe your friend was impressed, my 9 year old thought you were a tool.

Spotted: Bunny Rabbits

I was happily walking home from the the metro today when I came across two interns on the sidewalk. This male and female pair had positioned themselves in half of the walkway of a construction zone where the sidewalk is covered by scaffolding. The male intern didn't look over 19.

The two were going at it. We are talking 14 year olds in high school, making out in the hall way. They paused for a second, and the guy looked over at me, probably staring at my disgusted look. Then grabbed her back and went back in for the kill.

Dearest interns, please, PDA of that nature died when you got your license. And if your roommates prevent you from hooking up, don't do it in the middle of the sidewalk for all to see.

Heard: Lines Are For Interns, Too

Today, I had the pleasure of attending a Senate Subcommittee hearing that the non-legislative government agency I work for has some interest in. Since it's been about three years since my own hill internship, and having become an avid reader of this blog, I was very excited for the wonderful hilltern ridiculousness that would befall me. They didn't disappoint.

Due to the large amount of interest in this particular hearing, a long line had developed, so that even though I arrived about 20 minutes early, I was at the very front of the line when they closed the doors. On our way to the overflow room, I overheard one intern explaining to another why the hearing was so full.

Intern #1: Well, ya, because the hearings are all open to the public.

Intern #2: Ugh, aren't there any hearings open to just STAFF??

I didn't really feel the need to point out to him that, even if there WERE such hearings, they, not being staff themselves, would not be invited either.

Heard: Silver is Not Really a Metal

Guy: Do I have to take my ring off to get through the metal detector?

Girl 1: No, it won't set it off

Girl 2: Because it's silver

Guy: But silver is a metal

Girl 2: Well, not really.

Heard: Is Mr. Bill Hopper There?

I am a former house page and this is a conversation that has gone on more then once over the phone:

Page: [Party] Page desk how may I help you?

Intern: Hi this is [X] from Congressman [X]'s office and I need something picked up at [XXXX]

Page: And where will it be delivered to?

Intern: Well, it says Bill Hopper on it, do you know who Mr. Hopper is?

Page: Yes we know exactly who Bill is, we'll be right over. (while trying not to laugh)

They thought that the bill hopper was a person...genius.

Heard: What Do You Like?

Met an intern from at a bar in Adams Morgan on Saturday night.

I said "So what do you like?"
Her reply "Alcohol."

I was like "Umm, yea, do you, umm like anything else?"

Heard: Lightening Strikes Metal

I intern in DC and I overheard two coworkers talking at their cubicles on my first day.

Coworker 1: It's really coming down out there. Do you know when this storm's supposed to pass?

Coworker 2: Hah! I just got an email from _____ saying that one of the interns tried to grab pictures of the lightning and walked out there with her tri-pod over her shoulder.

Coworker 3: They just get dumber and dumber ever year...

Thanks to that intern, I'll be able to exceed their expectations of me.

Spotted: A New Shade of Fuchisa

An intern in my firm was so zealous that he would all but affix razor blades to his limbs to lacerate his fellow volunteers as he cut a swath to brown nose the company's bold-faced names. One day around the lunch table, waxing inanely about his imagined political expertise, he set to railing against DC corruption, singling out Member of Congress X as the quintessence of political chicanery. "Oh, wow, he's so dirty," declaimed this budding Charlie Cook. "Really?" asked a colleague sitting next to him, "Do tell me more. By the way, pleased to meet you [pause for effect]... I'm [name of Member of Congress X] Jr."

I don't believe the shade of fuchsia that enveloped the intern's face actually exists in nature.