A Welcome Letter To Interns
Congratulations on reaching this most exciting stage in your life! In the next several weeks/months you will be working on the most fascinating projects that we could not assign to existing employees. These projects often regard analyzing details that would be important if they were actually important to anyone within this company. Do you understand this logic? If so, congratulations on learning reasoning skills during your collegiate career, although, we would prefer that you do not so that we can expect fewer critical questions from you.
You are now sitting at your desk. Some information about your office: there is a chair (which you are sitting on), a desk, a semi-functioning computer and monitor, and a clock. On the clock you will find the hands that will govern this new period of your life. They have been designed to move maddeningly slow in your periods of downtime (which will be frequent) and terrifyingly quick when any pressing deadlines are approaching (but there will probably be few of these). Remember that the work you have been assigned is really only important based on the fact that it has been assigned to you. Any worries about the quality of your work are, for the most part, unnecessary, but we find your concerns quite charming.
We realize that you are probably feeling at least some symptoms of nervousness and apprehension. Rest assured that your concerns are most likely nothing to worry about. The common stereotype is that interns spend all of their time in file rooms, which you will not do (but if you must know the file room is directly adjacent to your office), fetching donuts and coffee for the rest of the staff (again, you will not do this but please, please, please do not interrupt us if you ever must bring us these things), and in general spending much of their time locked away in a figurative corner in which they feel separated from the older employees with whom they work. This last generalization is in no way true, but you may find it helpful not to talk. You will want to, yes, but if you don’t find out before your words are replied to with silence, let us remind you that you are 20 and everyone else here is married, a parent, a grandparent, or similar to the students in your school whom no one cares to associate with because of, say, their fascination with macramé. These last folks are not married or associated with by anyone, but you will be working most closely with them and they are located across the hall from you. Wave!
You are fortunate to have arrived on this floor. On this floor you will find: a break room, complete with an overflowing refrigerator from which food is commonly stolen, and a collection of all of your favorite coffees and teas (if your favorite is black). Actually, this is all you will find on this floor aside from other offices and the restroom. We have conveniently located your office so that your door must be passed by everyone as they go to the printer or the restroom. This will allow you to learn our faces more quickly and also to make it impossible for you to waste time for too long. We recommend practicing your concentration face, but we do not officially endorse this. Simply do not make us look bad for hiring you, and we will not fire you (just yet).
As your upper management we would like to extend feelings of friendship towards you during your time here. We would “like to”, we say, because we cannot actually do this. We apologize for the inherent communication gap between you and us. When we were interns we always told ourselves we would be the “cool, accessible” managers, but now that we are managers we understand that this is not a possibility. Still, we do have an open-door policy, and you may feel free to come speak with us whenever you’d like, so long as our door is open, we are not looking at our computer, on the phone, reading, writing, or appear to be thinking about anything. We hope you understand that we are busy, but we would love to get to know you and make you feel welcome here.
If at any time in your project you should also feel free to ask anyone on our floor for help. Please seek out the guidance of those across the hall from you first, but if they are not available then you may email others and give them one week’s notice of your questions. Your work is important (remember?) but we want you to learn independently! We also do not want to any interference in the other, equally important work that the others have.
We hope that your coming summer full of long stretches of existentially frightening imaginations regarding your realizations of the true nature of life after college is an enjoyable one. We hope we can encourage you to question everything you once believed you wanted to do with your life. We hope that we force you to consider teaching English in North Korea to be a less lucrative, albeit more interesting way of life than the one you may find here upon full-time employment. We hope that, if nothing else, you take away from this internship a possible lifelong interest in macramé, an impressive skill for small talk, and even more impressive skill of feigning interest in small talk, and the understanding that there are many people in the world that you will not particularly care to know and it is these people with whom you will almost always work.
If there is anything you find unpleasant about this experience, please let us know, in writing, but do not fret, because at a minimum you will probably only spend one-half of your life working with us (or similarly structured businesses)! Good luck, and please make yourself up some work!
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If you’ve been looking for a chance to say something then this very well could be it.
I wish to God I’d had a list like this when I was 23.
Answer phones better than anyone else has answered phones before. Relay messages so brilliant, they bring people to tears. Turn the coffee run into the choreography of Swan Lake. Become best friends with every intern and every underling and every taxi driver you encounter.
I remember taking the pen and notebook from that woman outside the courtroom, flipping to a clean page in the book, and writing, JESSICA IS SAD in big, bold, uncoordinated letters. “My sister is going to be a good writer someday! Look at how nice her lines are!”