Lessons From An Awkward Internship

Lessons From An Awkward Internship

Jaideep Patel relives the horror of his internship as he recalls the lessons learnt.

I was an intern back in 2003. It’s hard to believe it was 12 years ago, but I remember it very vividly because it was an usually difficult time for me. Let me bring you up to speed.

Once upon a time

I began applying for an internship placement a couple of months before it was due to start. I studied interface design (which is in some ways similar to product design but I won’t bore you with the technicalities) and our internships were known as industrial trainings. However, I was unlucky from the start – I faced rejection after rejection. When I finally landed an internship, it was as a graphic designer in an IT company specialising in software solutions. It couldn’t be further from what I was supposed to be doing, but I had no choice. Time (and my self-confidence) was quickly running out, as I had already missed out on the first 3 weeks of my internship. I would be in serious trouble with my supervisor if I didn’t complete 14 weeks.

So, I took the offer, and off I went in my oversized hand-me-down office wear.

In an office far, far away

A big part of me dreaded the whole affair, but it was something I had to do. The only thing on my mind was FEAR: fear of failing the industrial training, fear of extending another year in university and fear of graduating after my friends have long left.

Things just got a whole lot worse when I actually began my first day at work. The office was cold and soulless; it’s interior completely void of any character. I soon found out that this was the proud project of the CEO, who was a strict follower of the laws of Feng Shui. Decorations were kept to a minimum – it was absolutely spartan. I’ve seen livelier hospital cafeterias.

It wasn’t long before I actually started meeting the people who worked there. Apart from a handful of friendly people, the office was occupied by a bevy of disgruntled characters taken straight from a TV show. There was the pretentious telemarketer with the fake (and terribly annoying) accent, the fearsome dragon lady who masqueraded as the second-in-command in the absence of the boss, the rude technical assistant who was infinitely angry at everything and everyone but himself.

This couldn’t get any worse. Could it?

To read part 2 of the article, click here.