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 week, I walked past the intern at the front desk to find that he had his monitor turned off and was leaning up against his hands with his eyes closed. I then confronted the intern about sleeping during work, and he had a winning retort. Apparently he was just trying to take a nap "in the most professional way possible."
I had to run down to the CVC to meet a constituent group who had gone there rather than to our office before their tour. I told them I would meet them at the Statue of Freedom. While standing at the statue, I overheard an intern explaining its "history." Sadly, this is what I overheard, "and here we have the plaster molding for the Statue of Liberty that is up on the top of the Dome."
About a week ago I had to take a meeting to my boss off the House Floor. On our walk through the Cannon tunnel, we were stuck behind an intern who did not know how to share the tunnel space. As we were able to finally pass the group, I heard her say "the paintings come from the districts of each Senator. Each state has two Representatives and their Senators are based on population." Wow.
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. firstname.lastname@example.org