"When I Was Your Age" and Other Reflections on "Supervising" An Intern

One thing I think many of us can agree on is that we sure do like to glamorize our earlier days, don't we? I'd like to think that in my first internship, I was fired up, ready to go, sharp as a knife, and absorbent like a sponge (in terms of learning things, duh). I picture myself a spunky, energetic, and dependable worker, happy to take on mass mailings and other menial tasks. Even just writing that makes me realize how ridiculous that is.

Let's face it. Being an intern is hard. Working for a cool organization, or at least one with a cool reputation, while doing stuff like mailings and answering phones is not very fun. You're the bottom of the totem pole. But until today I never really realized just how important they are. Today I began working with a new intern who is (wait for it) taking on some of my work! That's right; I'm able to ask someone else to help me! At work!

There is, of course, a downside to this wonderful thing called interns. Most of them have never worked in an office, or if they did, they don't remember much from it. All you have to do is say the words "mail merge" and you'll be looking at one scared intern. And believe me, nothing is more painful than walking through the process of mail merge with another human being. Damn, I hate just doing it myself, but having to go step-by-step through it multiple times? It's like a slow and painful death.

But, here is a great opportunity for me to learn some things about how to manage another person, how to be a good resource, and most importantly, how to be patient with a young person making her way in the world.

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