Congratulations on landing a coveted internship: your first real taste of what it means to be ‘working class’. An internship is an exciting opportunity to earn practical work integrated experience, as well as to grow your network. Don’t blow this chance to jumpstart your career by making these jaw-dropping (I may have exaggerated) mistakes as an intern.
Here is what not to do in the workplace as an intern.
1) Do NOT alter the company’s dress code
It can be hard always looking the part if you are coming straight from varsity, where jeans and shorts are the norm but don’t alter the dress code. Know what’s acceptable and what’s not. Don’t dress down, unless you are told by your supervisor or it is casual Friday.
2) Do NOT repeatedly use your cellphone
It’s so tempting to catch up on the gossip mill and not miss all the updates (courtesy of Miss ‘Busy-body’), but working hours aren’t the right time to do so. Put your phone on silent and keep it as far away from you as possible. You do not want to be caught ‘fast-typing’ when you are supposed to be working.
3) Stay away from browsing/surfing the net
Try to be as focused as you can possibly be. Don’t be constantly checking in on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Speaking from experience, it’s very uncomfortable to be caught on Facebook by your boss.
4) Don’t be a sit-around
Don’t always be sitting around doing nothing from 8-1 and 1-4. Take initiative, ask what needs to be done and when.
5) Don’t be Miss ‘I will not wait my turn’
Don’t interrupt your supervisor when s/he is talking to someone – even if there is an urgent matter that needs their attention. Wait your turn!
6) Don’t do the work half-heartedly
Even if it’s getting your boss coffee, carrying the printer downstairs or writing a report, complete your task to the best of your ability. Always go above and beyond so that you stand out and people remember not just your name, but your work ethics.
7) Don’t be scared to ask questions
You won’t learn if you don’t ask. It’s better to feel like an idiot and learn, than to appear knowledgeable and remain in the dark.
8) Don’t be late
If you are supposed to start at 8am, but find that you always get there at 8:20 then you need to adjust some things and make sure that you are always on time.