on interns (guest post)

The following was submitted to me after my skin-tern post, and I loved it so much I asked the author if I could share it. This person needs to stay anonymous for obvious reasons but anyone who has ever hired, supervised, cursed or been eternally grateful for an intern will relate to this piece.

There was intern drama today of the unnecessary kind. The kind that comes with accepting an internship on Capitol Hill, a place where you may have landed because of your last name, but once you walk through the door the playing field is leveled by the likes of me.

Maybe it is because I have risen through the ranks from intern to senior staff because I kept my head down and worked hard. I let my work speak for itself. I showed up on time. I did more than was asked of me, but not so much people thought I was kissing anyone’s ass. My daddy didn’t write the campaign a check, my uncle didn’t go to college with the Boss, and certainly it wasn’t my GPA or SAT scores that got me in the door.

Capitol Hill is not summer camp and yet parents some how find a way to send their kids off to Washington, D.C. for six weeks and expect young staff, who let’s face it, aren’t much older than the would-be intern, play Camp Counselor to their kids.

For many interns, this is their first experience in the real world – they’re thrust into a well-oiled machine, a respected institution, and have the first chance to build a name and a reputation for themselves.

When you walk in the door, I take notice of details like what you’re wearing and how much make up you have on.

Yes, DC is hot, but you need to wear a jacket.

Yes, you have to give three tours today,

Yes, you have to take your Toms off.

You are a reflection of the Member you are interning for and more importantly, you must respect the hallowed halls that American heroes have also walked.
LBJ, JFK, John McCain, Shirley Chisholm, Barack Obama.

You are privileged to be here. We all are.

If you want to skate by and use this opportunity as another notch in you belt of extracurricular activities or as a topic for your grad school admission essay, fine. But don’t be offended when I don’t remember your name. You have four, maybe five weeks to give me a reason to remember you – how I remember you is your decision. But I promise you, if you show up everyday ready to hit the ground running, humble, eager, and do what is asked, you will earn the trust of those around you and you will be remembered. This will serve you much better than being remembered for poor attitude, tardiness, inappropriate language, or short skirts.

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One thought on “on interns (guest post)”

  1. While this author makes a very valid point, that may motivate some interns. Another point perspective could be just as adequate; As Congressional staff and as “adults” ( I use this term loosely) we are here to foster relationships with the impressionable youth working in Washington. We are here to impart on them our conventional wisdom but more importantly to help them become who they want to be…regardless if they make mistakes.

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