A few of us here at TMC are working summer internships and we know a large chunk of our audience is doing the same. So we’re starting this mini-series of blogs to share funny stories that you can relate to regarding internships, and hopefully give you some helpful tips along the way.
Quite possibly the most important aspect of workplace culture is your relationships with coworkers. These are the people you are probably going to be spending more of your summer with than your friends and family, so your interactions with them become pretty important for the sake of your social life and sanity.
The way I see it, there are three types of colleagues:
You need a solid group of office friends if you’re going to make it out of this internship with your sanity. You can’t go into work everyday and stare at your computer silently. When I say friends, I don’t mean you need to manufacture an entirely new friend group who you’re gonna call up on weekends, bake cupcakes with and play truth or dare (or whatever it is you do with your friends). All you need is a handful of people you can shoot the shit with, talk about how the Red Sox suck, how your golf game is atrocious, and maybe even grab a casual beer with after work. It’s amazing how little things like that can break up your day and lighten your overall experience.
For every chill colleague in your office, there will probably be two who you really just can’t relate to. This could be because you have nothing in common, they are more reserved than the average person, or it could be as simple as them being a Charles/Linda. And it doesn’t help that you have a very limited time to get to know your coworkers. These people will work with you when they have to, awkwardly say hi by the copier, and actively avoid eye contact in the bathroom.
Take Laura for example. Laura has a summer internship in which she is working on a capstone project with a team of 6 people, and she is the only intern on the team. The problem? Her team is full of quiet, antisocial coworkers who make it very difficult to get to know them and meetings are full of awkward tension. One day, in an attempt to lighten the atmosphere and relate to one of her teammates on somewhat of a personal level, Laura noticed that one of her colleagues was a lefty. Being left handed herself, Laura jumped on the opportunity to point out something she had in common with her colleague: “Hey Jack! I noticed you were a lefty. So am I!” Jack immediately lifted his head up from his work and looked at Laura with a slightly confused, ‘did she really just say that’ type of expression on his face. “Well obviously I’m a lefty, Laura. I used to be a righty…” Not knowing what he meant by that, Laura responded “What do you mean?” Jack, finding the interaction almost comical at this point, sort of half grins and holds up his right hand revealing that he was missing his middle 3 fingers. He waves them at Laura like he was giving one of those “hang loose” gestures. It turns out his fingers were bitten off by a shark when he was 11. Moral of the story, sometimes there are coworkers that fate didn’t want you to be friends with.
Sidenote – Beware of the Office Charles: Everyone knows this guy as soon as they meet him and he is someone you, especially being a college aged kid, want to interact with as little as possible. The Office Charles in his natural habitat will act like he is your best friend within 5 minutes of meeting you and absolutely annoy the shit out of you as you stand there and awkwardly smile and nod your way to the end of the conversation, which seems to almost never come. His jokes make popsicle stick puns sound like top teir stand up comedy and he knows nothing about sports, regardless of how convinced he is that Manny Ramirez has “still got it”. Avoid the Office Charles at all costs.
Colleagues you want to Burgah
Making moves on burgahs in the workplace is an extremely thin patch of ice for two reasons. 1: If you get denied in your attempt to throw that burgah on the grill, the rest of your summer is probably going to be all kinds of awkward. 2: The “Office Hot” phenomenon. Some girls may appear to be sure fire burgahs between the hours of 9 and 5, but outside work they can very well be a turkey burgah. There are many theories as to why this phenomenon is so prevalent in today’s society. I believe it is a combination of the business attire along with the lack of competition in most offices.
Caution: You are getting older. You have to start developing the habit of checking for a wedding/engagement ring. This will undoubtedly save you time, effort, and potential embarrassment.
Check back weekly throughout the summer for more Intern IArchives. If you have a story or insight you would like to share with us, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @touchmyculture with #InternArchives. You might make it into the next edition!