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Search - "white lies are your friend"
An intern made a very bad impression on the first day.
This was before I become a developer. I was working in commercial art sales. One day, I had an appointment to onboard two new interns together.
Intern 1 shows up and I ask her for her signed confidentiality agreement. The boss had sent it out a week before and told me the interns were bringing the signed paperwork on their first day. I see the surprised look on her face and she says she forgot. She’s lucky I had access to another copy. If I didn’t, things could have gotten pretty awkward if I had to contact my boss, who was out of office. If there’s no signed agreement, I can’t onboard her and I’d have to send her home. The appointment was made with intern 1’s availability in mind, so intern 1 could have spent her time coming to the office for nothing and being turned away because of a stupid mistake she made.
While we wait for intern 2 to arrive, I try to engage in small talk with intern 1. I try to get to know her a little better and I ask “are you still in college/university?” She word vomits that she thought she had graduated, but six months later she hadn’t received her diploma and she called the school and they told her her pre-college credits had not transferred, so she’s finishing those credits now.
Oh, intern, you should have just simplified all this to “I’m finishing up my degree” or “yes, I’m still in college.” This is TMI. You don’t want to give out information about yourself that could put you in a bad light. You need to know to be discreet about yourself. You’re 22 years old. It’s really bad judgement to say this to your supervisor (me) and we’ve only known each other for ten minutes. I’m not your friend, I’m your supervisor. Honestly, I thought the explanation didn’t make sense because she would have found out about the credits when she tried to transfer them and when she applied for graduation. I didn’t prod for more details.
I did have to tell my boss about intern 1 forgetting the paperwork. It’s not something the intern would be reprimanded for, but it is something that’s not a good sign. The paperwork had been sent by the boss a week prior. It’s troublesome that an intern would forget to complete an important task that was sent by the boss. This was never a problem with prior interns.
Boss did freak out because boss thought I onboarded intern 1 without intern agreeing to the confidentiality agreement. Boss hadn’t considered an intern would forget the paperwork and didn’t tell me what to do if this did happen. I reassured boss that I had printed a new copy and had intern 1 sign the agreement.
I didn’t say anything about the word vomit. The content was troubling, but I was concerned this would be gossip and I wasn’t out to sabotage the intern.
Forgetting the paperwork and the word vomit were signs the intern wasn’t reliable. Intern had trouble taking direction even when it was written down. She’d do stupid things like invite her boyfriend to the office for hours and let BF sit at the boss’s desk—boss caught her and boss’s office is visible from our public viewing floor, so visitor did see this too. I suspected she might have an diagnosed learning disability.
In the end, intern didn’t ask for a reference letter. Boss said that if intern asked for one in the future, the answer would be no.
Intern 1 is the reason why I don’t want to be in change of interns ever again even though I’m not in art sales anymore.17