Welcome to Intern Horrors, the weekly feature wherein interns and the people who exploit them write in to complain about each other (or confess their own sins). This week: befouling USA Today's bathrooms, our most boorish intern yet, and more.
Mike starts us off with the story of how he lost his internship:
I started working for a newspapers online sports webpage. I was in charge of updating late-ending games and reworking Associate Press game stories to the newspapers specific style. The office was rigtht outside Washington DC and the newspapers name phonetically spelled went something like you-ess-ay today. Anyways, it was a later shift about 7pm to 2am that I worked and there were maybe five other people on the same floor working that late. Anyways, one night, a particularly late NBA game is going on, and I find myself to be the very last person to leave the office. Before, I do, I feel an impending bowel movement, so I make my way, to the one bathroom that is on the floor. Its a relativly small bathroom, one stall and one urinal. I do my business, clean up, and congratulate myself on my creation. Upon flushing, the brown and green mess starts moving up towards me, not down the drain as I expect ... I quickly rush to find a plunger, there is none, I search frantically for the spigot to turn off the water, there is none, and before I know it, water is rushing over the edge of the bowl, and filling the small room. In my panic, I call maintenance, noone picks up, and I head back into the can with about a dozen newspapers, which for whatever reason, I've decided that if I can cover it up, it a) wont smell, and b)wont be noticeable as it festers overnight. I hurriedly head back to school and vow that I will never tell a living soul about this escapade. The next day, my internship coordinator calls to me my office, and asks how the internship is going. I tell her its going swimmingly, and she says, that the company called and asked that I not return to work the next day. Turns out the managing editor was visiting the next day, went to use the restroom, found the shitfilled room covered with newspapers, and my employee ID sitting on the counter. After videotape review, they determined I was the last one in the building ,and the last one to use the can, and that my services were no longer needed. Made for an awkward handshake at the end to say the least.
I interned at a large multi-national firm with an office in the south and we had another intern that might have been the worst intern ever. Besides fun stuff like falling asleep on the job and hitting on random 16 year old girls in the airport in front of our bosses, he released such gems as telling one of our supervisors his wife was "spent" after she had their first child (in reference to her vag), practicing pickup lines on a supervisor such as "hey, wanna f*ck", and while on a site visit, changing clothes in a conference room at the end of a meeting into a wife beater and cutoff jorts (yes, jean shorts) for the flight home.
More stories surface annually about this douche.
Daulerio scolds me several times a week for wearing cut-off shorts. But mine are corduroy.
My company had an intern last year that had, for lack of a better term, a cleft foot. The kid looked like a fat, stumpy version of carrot top and always tried to engage me in music-oriented conversations that would somehow end with him telling me how much he really respected Frank Zappa as an artist. Oh right, the cleft foot. He had the heaviest and subsequently the noisiest walk I have ever heard and/or witnessed in my life. It went something like 'STOMP...DRRAAAGGG...STOMP....DRAAAGGG', which, believe me, if you work in an office environment like mine, where you generally want to stab yourself in the neck with a bic pen more often than not, this does not tend to prevent anyones already paper thin sanity from steadying out. Needless to say, I avoided this intern like the plague all summer until his time was up, thinking I could just wait it out. I didn't realize that my boss had hired him back to intern again during his winter break. This kid ruined two seasons for me. And whereas before I was indifferent towards Frank Zappa, now I want to find his grave and spit on it.
An intern that makes one hate Frank Zappa has to be a shitty intern.
Finally Alan has a story where everything works out better than the end of an episode of Entourage:
In the summer of 2001 I was able to land a highly desirable Silicon Valley internship. In exchange for my services as an intern, this small internet security company would pay for my room and board at an area university so that I could begin some post graduate work.
I had recently graduated from a Big Ten university with a degree in Marketing, so one of my first duties for the company was to create and deploy a marketing survey. The goal of the survey was to target this new/small company's current customers to investigate if clients were aware of the full product offering. I put together a text book marketing survey. Fucking boring. After receiving a list of clients I emailed my survey (mostly to high ranking executives). And like all marketing surveys I suspect each email was deleted within minutes of its arrival...
It took about a week of no responses for the rest of the office to start busting my balls about not being able to compel ANY feedback. In response to the teasing I decided to create an alternate survey. I put together a survey with bikini-clad women in between questions. It had animated shaking boobs as the bullet points. Maxim models on the headers and footers. And the survey closed with a full page shot of a woman's butt with the phrase "Dont be an ass, fill out my survey" across the bottom. I emailed the survey to my new male co-workers and fellow interns - everyone got a laugh. You can see where this is going...
A few days went by and my boss (A young 30s California guy named Eric) suggested I start calling clients to see if I could get some responses. Like any intern I hit the phones hard. I was actually able to start extracting usable info after a while. I put some reports together and it seemed we were getting somewhere. Because I seemed to be doing a good job, Eric came to me with a list of the company's top 5 clients. These clients were responsible for a significant portion of the small companys business. My task was simple - extract marketing info from these elite customers just as I had done with the others. So what does my dumb ass do? Yep, I emailed the survey. Having not thought I was ever going to use the survey again, I had saved the "Dont be an ass survey" over the original. I attached the survey, hit send and immediately my heart sank. I tried every Outlook recall bullshit thing I could think of. It was hopeless. The email was sent. I sat in my cubical for about 10 minutes. Called my girlfriend (back in the Midwest) to tell her I'd be coming home soon - that I'd just been fired... I walked over to Eric's office - he was standing talking to another person. I said "Eric, you might want to sit down". I was fucking with this guy's career afterwards; I wanted to be able to get a running start if he decided to beat the shit out of me. I said, "you remember that Dont be an ass survey" I did as a joke? He turned so red, but not Im-about-to-murder-you-Red, but like REALLY nervous-red. He couldnt speak. He just said "No?... No?" almost questioning how he cold ever be in this situation. He very politely asked me to take the rest of the day off. With my tail between my legs I walked out the door, called a cab (since I carpooled to work) and went back to my dorm to start packing. I had been graduated from college for less than a month and had already single handedly sunk a small Silicon Valley company.
The next day I walked into the office to discover my fate. Much to my surprise they decided to keep me. Unbelievable. I was ecstatic. In the days following my acceptance back to the office my task was to reach out to all the clients my offensive survey might have reached and BEG for forgiveness - explain that I was a bullshit intern and that my stupidity should not be a reflection on this small company. It wasnt that bad. A few people refused to take my calls, which I was fine with – I had no experience talking to executives. One guy said he understood the spirit with which it was done, did not find it funny, but was very understanding. Another executive said he thought it was hilarious and responded to the survey in full. A lady executive was appalled and I imagine her displeasure with my survey likely cost the company significant business. But these calls and emails to repair my survey's damage were my job – I felt like a punching bag, but it was my penance.
Unfortunately, I discovered what most fuck-ups discover when they dont get fired - I was the running office joke. Everywhere I went inside the office I could hear the chuckles. I was introduced to all subsequent employees as "The guy that sent the survey". It was kind of awful, but at least they were paying for me to live in California. Two weeks after this whole ordeal I was walking toward the front door and saw the company owner/founder/CEO (Tom) parking his car and walking towards the entrance. I had met him on my first day, the company was his life, his masterpiece, and I was the guy that shit all over it. I wanted to turn around so bad, but I was already in the lobby and it would be too obvious. We made eye contact through the window and I started to get pretty nervous. Sure enough we cross paths in the front portion of the lobby and I could feel the office's eyes on us. Hoping he might mix me up with another intern I just said hello and tried to walk past. But he stopped to meet me so I felt obligated to stop. He looked me right in the eye and with a big smile said – "When are you going to do a Don't be a Boob campaign? You are hilarious man. We haven't had this kind of contact with our customers since we started." I think I shit my pants. Coolest guy ever. I will never forget his forgiveness – the dude should have probably stabbed me.
Have you been summarily humiliated during an internship? Summarily humiliated by your intern? Send in your story; subject line: Intern Horrors.