It's the first day of that internship you've been fretting over for weeks. You're wearing freshly pleated dress pants, pointy professional heels and a crisp buttonup to match (an outfit you may or may not have purchased just for the occasion). A fresh notebook in one hand, a coffee in the other. When your boss reaches out for a handshake, you freak. That crisp buttonup is now accessorized by blazing hot coffee, as is his hand. It's only the first five minutes and you've already learned a valuable lesson: BE COOL.
We've all had internship moments that have left us wishing we could hang out under our desk. Read on for a few more examples of humiliating internship mistakes.
Claire M.* of Occidental had been having trouble finding clothes to wear to the law firm she worked at last summer. “I was seriously toeing the line of professionalism by wearing a pair of really tight black jeggings, but they were the only semi-professional-looking pants I owned at the time,” she told CM. “One day I was running late in the morning and quickly put on wedges with the jeggings. All day at work a 70-year-old male partner at the firm and a female associate kept dropping not-so-subtle hints about professional work pants. I realized my bottom half made me look like I was going to a club – but with a nice button down top.”
Mara K.* of Duke University had a case of the horrible bosses last summer. “I was interning in Manhattan for a TV show,” she told us. “I absolutely hated my boss because she usually gave me nothing to do, but one day I was given the task to go downtown and pick up jewelry that would be used on an episode of the show. As I walked through SoHo I decided to take my sweet time and go shopping for myself while I was still on the job. I shopped downtown for 3 hours after picking up the goods for my boss. She didn't even notice I was gone.”
Becca D.* of Boston College interned for a senator last summer and decded to join a softball league with senate team members and members of political think tanks. “Our team wasn't very serious and did it more for office bonding than anything so I joined even though I had never played. My first time up to bat I was pretty nervous and had no idea what I was doing. Though I did make contact with the ball, my swing looked more like a tennis serve than anything. One of the other interns captured this moment with my iPhone and posted it on Facebook from my account! I didn't notice for 4 hours and by then everyone had already seen it and liked it. Recently one of my coworkers added me on LinkedIn and endorsed some of my skills. He also sent me a message that said: "I wish I could endorse your softball skills, too.”
*last names have been redacted at the request of interviewees
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