Gather round, children. In the spirit of Halloween, I feel compelled to share my Intern Horror Story with all you interns who complain about having to ferry donuts.
As I blow a fistful of glowing embers into the air, follow me across the sea to dreary house in southeast London, January, 2007, where I was to meet my boss for a four-month journalism internship set up by a university-affiliated study abroad program. The internship was for an international finance/offshore banking magazine that the publisher, a well-dressed Caribbean man with a moderate accent, claimed had about 30 employees. Through the following loose quotes, which I am recalling from memory and translating into their actual meaning, I hope to paint a picture of how things unfolded.
“We are in the process of moving between offices.' = You’ll be working alone in my living room while I run errands. Sometimes, you will hear children screaming.
“You will find that as we are a small business,we do not often have time off.' = I didn’t read the internship program’s contract about time off.
“Change your voice a when the advertisers call,so they think we have a large staff.' = You and I are the staff.
“This is actually a great opportunity to apply your research skills.' = I need you to look up the top five radio stations in every nation in the world, then find links to all of their websites. Oh, and then write summaries of each nation’s political history and financial climate. And whether they look down on money laundering.
“I am excited for you to meet Jason [a coworker] … we have been good friends for many years.' = Funny story — he helped me run a cocaine ring in the ‘80s.
“I have looked into it legally, and I do not believe the program can remove you like this.' = I’ve watched several episodes of Judge Joe Brown, and I’m pretty confident I have a constitutional right to hold you in my home indefinitely, doing irrelevant drudge work for no pay.
“If you don’t allow me to [enter your apartment and] search your [personal] computer, then perhaps I will call some of my boys and we will settle this the way men do.' = My bros are gonna beat the piss out of you, dude.
“There is no need to involve the police.' = I would like to continue threatening you four times a day on your new work number, if that is convenient.
Thanks for the memories, [NAME REDACTED]!
Who else has an internship horror story to share that can be summarized in a quote? Leave a comment below, but avoid company names and identifying information.