Diary of an Intern, Episode 4: A New Hope

12/12/13 3:00PM

Last week we had our last general meeting of the year – ending 2013 on a high note with a lovely lunch and good news across the board. I may be only a humble intern, but the staff here really treats me like part of the company family. As we wrapped up the year’s remaining business, I built up the courage to suggest we try using mail merge to more easily communicate with our clients. It took only a few seconds for my colleagues to respond, but I was petrified with anxiety; could an intern really be so bold as to suggest such a change? To my surprise, they actually liked the idea and commended me for suggesting it. That was a relief and felt quite empowering.

Just as the general meeting began to wind down, my supervisor invited us all to a company holiday party – a chance for all levels of staff to mingle and unwind over fine dinner and wine. Sharing alcohol with my supervisor? That practically sounds taboo, I thought. Plus, I would have to be mindful of what to say and how to behave so I don’t make a fool of myself in front of my colleagues.  Would I need a suit? How late should I stay? How would I handle personal questions thrown my way? These questions ran through my mind and caused no small amount of anxiety. Still, it is a unique experience to look forward to.

I am very excited for the holiday party and hope that everyone enjoys the holidays and has a great new year.

2 Comments

  1. Comment by Adam:

    I think the question if the interns are supposed to drink with their colleagues doesn’t have a “fit all” answer. In my opinion, it depends on the company’s policy and culture.
    When I was interning at one of the Big Four companies, the most mentioned things during our first days of training was that our internship is a “dry internship”, which means that interns were not allowed to drink alcohol at any company events including holiday parties, conferences, and team dinners. Even though alcohol was served at all of these events, as interns we were always ordering either water or orange juice.
    However, I heard stories about some other companies that don’t have such a strict policy and where interns were encouraged to share a glass of wine with their colleagues.
    In my opinion, the best advice is to talk to people around you and learn what is more appropriate at this particular company. And of course, don’t get drunk!

  2. Comment by Nadya Semenova:

    Thank you, Adam, for your comment.

    On my side, I want to add that while it is important to take into account the company’s policy and culture, the first thing the intern should consider is his/her age. If you are under 21, you shouldn’t be drinking at any case. Some “happy hours” take place in the venues that do require guests to be older than 21. After getting the invitation for one of the social events, let your co-workers know that you are under age to drink. That will help to avoid confusion and uncomfortable situations at the venue itself.

    If the venue doesn’t have such restriction or if you are old enough to drink, never hesitate to go to all the events you are invited to. Internship is the time to make connections, and after-work gatherings provide a great opportunity to do this. As Adam mentioned, don’t get drunk. Order last, after looking at what everybody else drinks. Choose a low-alcohol drink and sip it through the night. And of course, socialize!

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