What’s in a name?

Two internships and some random part-timing jobs probably don’t make me an expert on this. But I’ve recently began to wonder more about the idea of being an intern. Does being an intern necessarily entail being regarded as the go-to person for all kinds of odd jobs? Has it always been that interns really don’t command much respect or are given much significance at the workplace?

While interns might not have an abundance of working experience (though more qualified individuals are increasingly taking up internships due to the current “recession”), they really aren’t all that dumb. I’m sure they know what’s the difference between hardware and software. I’m sure they get it when asked to format a word document, or any other document, for that matter. Probably the only common reason I can think of when interns make trivial mistakes is because they don’t know exactly how your organization works. Sure, they get a rough idea when they sign up for that interview and laboriously gather information on your organization. But they’d never truly understand how you work, would they? Even new colleagues don’t adjust to varied working styles that quickly. So why forget that everyone (especially people new to a situation) makes mistakes? No, they’re not retarded. Yes, they understand the words that are coming out of your mouth. Pitiful looks are really not needed.

Perhaps the thing that most people who’ve been through an internship can relate with – being asked to do the most trivial things in the world. Just because. Pick up that magazine that I saw a day ago at that cafe two streets away from the office, will you? I couldn’t get through to this restaurant, help me make reservations, thank you. Enter this one line of information into that document for me, okay?

According to Wiki, here’s what Intern means – An intern (also known in Quebec English as stagiaire) is one who works in a temporary position with an emphasis on on-the-job training rather than merely employment, making it similar to an apprenticeship. Interns are usually college or university students, but they can also be high school students or post graduate adults seeking skills for a new career. Student internships provide opportunities for students to gain experience in their field, determine if they have an interest in a particular career, create a network of contacts, or gain school credit. Internships provide the employers with cheap or free labor for (typically) low-level tasks (stereotypically including fetching coffee for the office), and also the prospect of interns returning to the company after completing their education and requiring little or no training.

I guess with a definition like that, it’s no wonder most interns are treated this way.

Just another random post. Inspiration eludes me.


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