8 Things You Should NEVER Do As An INTERN

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An Internship is normally a wonderful experience to any fresh graduate or the ones just about to complete the college program. It offers one a great practical learning experience as far as the workplace is concerned. In a number of cases the gods of opportunity may smile upon some interns converting the learning experience into full time roles within the same organizations.

It is important for any intern to realize that he or she has a wonderful opportunity before them irrespective of the end game thus the need to carry self in a professional manner. Having said this certain realities will always be the hallmark of an internship program chief being the interns naivety not only about the role but also the work environment as a whole. You will be meeting all cadres of staff some who may never even realize that you are an intern but will still expect you to conform to the basics of the workplace and demonstrate a professional character.

To help you carry through this period professionally, I have compiled a set of what I will call the ABOMINATION LIST of an INTERN. This are things that any intern should purpose to avoid doing so as not to come across your colleagues as either unprofessional or immature.


Dressing Shabbily

Well, all and sundry know that you are either still in college or have just graduated and you have no steady stream of income to do a wardrobe overhaul, however this is and will never be an excuse to dress  shabbily. Dressing professionally is not synonymous with dressing expensively. You should have an apparel that fits well and conforms with your work environment. Leave the college fashion drama out of work and make sure that you dress the part. Prior to reporting find out through your research if the organization has a dress code and get garments that comply. You don’t want to look dressed like a mechanic in a professional services environment. You could win the heart and attention of your bosses  and HR right from the moment you step into the workplace by you manner of dressing.


Being a Jack of all trades to all bosses and departments

Any intern will always want to outdo themselves and blow off the mind of their bosses with the goal of getting a positive recommendation or securing a permanent deal there after. This is a great attitude however it ought to be within constructive limits. Upon getting the internship offer, it is prudent to understand the roles, teams or departments that you will be working or rather learning from. Certain organizations set programs that enable interns to engage with all departments while others  will entrust the interns with only one team for the entire time.

As an intern, demonstrate restraint by sticking to the role and/or team you have been assigned. Avoid the temptation of trying to do so much across the board to impress a number of bosses in the office. This will definitely work against you since you will come across  as one who cannot stick to one thing and get it accomplished well. You may also be the cause of confict between differetn teams in the organization.


Fundraising or borrowing money from your colleagues in the office

Certain actions no matter how genuine always push people away especially when you are still new and unknown  to the office. Being an Intern you are also human and have issues that could come your way that need financial assistance and the fact that you may not even be on a a stipend could just make the situation worse.

No matter what avoid  like hell the temptation of passing around those contribution cards for whichever cause. Equally try as much as you can to avoid borrowing money from the people you found in the workplace. As much as this help might come forth, certain individuals will be wondering who you are since they may not have even seen you in the office yet you are (through the card) asking for some financial aid for whichever cause.

Borrowing money or doing a fundraiser in the office early into your intern stint presents you as a very needy individual whom the firm might want to avoid at all costs in the long run. Awkwardly you may find yourself in some senior staff offices asking for financial help and believe you me your boss will be put to ask to explain your conduct. In case you have a genuine financial need, kindly consult your immediate boss who will guide you on what to do in line with the organizations’ policy and culture. Do not cross that line when it’s still too early.


Boasting of connections with “Powerful” individuals in the office

Successful internships call for high level of maturity and a sense of dependability. Nothing annoys you immediate boss or colleagues like that nasty daily boastful talk of how you know or are related to so and so who is the big man/woman in the organization. Besides coming across as immature, you will also be assumed to be trying to threaten you boss and team into submitting to your demands or face the wrath of your connection.

Whether the CEO or CFO or HR Director etc etc  is you father, mother or whoever just keep it out of the office till when you get home. The opportunity you have is for you to learn and demonstrate you competencies as far as the role is concerned.

As an intern you should desist from standing on other people’s shoulders when you have you own legs and the ability to stand on your own.  Avoid that unprofessional talk and let you learning skills and ability to deliver on the given chores do the talking on your behalf.


Boasting of your high powered family

You may have secured that internship courtesy of the relationship your high powered background has with some senior staff in the organization but that’s just it, Beyond that you must fold your sleeves and be ready to get your hands dirty so that you can also build your high powered legacy as you grow in your career.

Once you embark on your internship program you boss and team will be looking at your willingness to learn and the value you  bring on-board. NOTHING MORE.

Let your conversation demonstrate an individual eager to learn and grow. Let your team and Manager remember you for what you brought on the table and not for the kind of family background you came from. This kind of talk portrays an individuals high level of immaturity and dependability.


Bringing you friends/family to the office or to the team dinner

Securing an Internship with certain organizations can be so thrilling and intriguing to the point that you feel you just need to let your college friends or family members see how awesome that office looks like. A wonderful thought but it should just remain a thought. As an Intern get time to understand the policy and risk regulations around strangers in the office and what is expected of you when you go out with your team for dinner.

Learn very fast to let the office be the office and your social life be your social life. As Intern respect the boundaries around your new work environment and don’t do something that will cause you to be the next negative trending topic in the office.

As much as you love your family, It can be absolutely awkward during the work hours for you to be moving around introducing you mum and sisters to your colleagues.

Just avoid the drama.


Talking to the CEO to get a permanent job

Lets be honest, job searching can be a tough assignment that can easily throw anyone into the pit of desperation which knows no boundaries. Interns who have completed their college program and are seeking for full time job are not exempted from this rigor of life. I have seen this happen especially toward the end of ones’ internship period, a candidate walks into the CEO’office introduces self and asks if he/she could be considered for a full-time role. Some have even gone ahead to point out a role that they think has fallen vacant in the team thus the need to consider them.

This may go either way, but in most instances it doesn’t end so well. I have seen cases where the CEO felt disrupted with concerns he/she had no mandate over thus judging the intern as disrespectful of the organizations structure.

Two things to help you secure a full-time role; One is in your control the other is not.

  1. Demonstrate great competencies and a willingness to learn during your internship – this will be your strongest selling point incase of an opportunity.
  2. Hope for a corresponding opportunity – Unless there is one, only then can you be considered

In the meantime engage with your direct manager and to some extent you could also engage the Human Capital team to let them know of your desire.

Do not jump ship.


Asking your parents to call and thank the office or to ask the office to give you a permanent job

Well, the internship is coming to a close and you really loved it. Then take time and talk to your boss. Appreciate his/her support and express you desire to be part of his/her team going forward. That presents you as a professional and demonstrates growth.

With due respect, no matter who your parents are and their standing in society, do not tell them to call and thank the office for the great internship for their son /daughter and even go ahead and plead for a full time job for you. The office had an internship engagement with you and not your folks.

Certain gestures no matter how well intended, end up portraying a detestable image of immaturity and an individual who cannot stand for her/himself.

Internships could be life changing if approached with the right attitude and understanding. When you secure one plan to make the most of it in terms of learning the workplace, carrying yourself maturely and creating a mark that distinguishes you as a great potential for an opportunity.

Do not mess the opportunity.


Authored by Stephen Ogolla


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