Sunday, April 17, 2011

Interns, On having

internsOnce upon a time, I wrote a list of things that were important for shadows to know. I thought that I had really nailed it then, but in hind sight - I've learned that there is something even better than a shadow.


I like having interns.

These eager folks volunteer (at least here) for up to 40 hours a week. I sort of can't imagine what life was like without them. I used to think having an intern meant:

-Never having to sharpen my own pencils again
-Never having to pour my own coffee again
-Always having my jacket hung up for me

When really, that's only part of the great stuff that goes on.

But what do you do when an intern just isn't working out? How do you fire someone you never actually hired? Do you just stop giving them projects? Do you have them sweep the parking lot?

But a few things that interns should know before becoming an intern :

-Your work is relatively thankless, but essential.
-If you like being patted on the back, and need constant stroking, Museum/Library work is probably not for you. We don't get thanked either.
-Being an intern means that you need to dress the part.
-Be prepared to do a task that you've only been taught once - by yourself - and probably the next day.
-If you have time to brag about your internship on Facebook, Twitter or on your cell phone we aren't giving you enough work.
-Speaking of Facebook, do not friend your boss. Keep your relationship professional. The people you work with day to day are OK to add, but we don't want to know that much about you.
-Do personalize your space, if you are lucky enough to get a desk, but only with a shoe box worth of objects. You have a home. Keep your necessities there.
-If you need time off, just say you need time off. I don't care why. Do not tell me about your gynacological problems. I'm a librarian. Not a doctor.
-Sometimes you need to work nights & weekends. Do not act surprised or put out. You are replaceable. Seriously. We only picked you because you were the best applicant - not the only one.
-When you are finished with your internship - send a thank you letter. Who knows when we'll have a job opening. If you were that good - we might want you back.
-Create a description of what you did for your boss. Pretty it up, and put it in a binder. It helps us with the next intern, and is a great record for us AND helpful for your resume.
-A note to the bosses WITH interns. They have names, please use them. "Hey you", and "Over Here!" are only funny once.

I'm not going to lie. I'm demanding of the interns. I want them to realize what they are capable of. The bosses I remember most, and think the highest of, always pushed ME to my limits. And now look at me. I'm a celebrity librarian.

Moral of this blog: Do what I say.

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