Let’s face it; if you are doing an internship this summer the chances are that your fellow interns are around your age, early twenty-something college students. This can only mean one thing: stress, drama, and gossip will be as free flowing as it is on campus. Whether it is intern hook-ups, the stress of trying to secure a job offer, dramatic catfights, or regular old intern gossip floating around the office it is bound to happen.
Any one of these scenarios could be going on around you at work. The way you handle yourself in these situations determines your character and will set you apart from the other interns, thus giving you a more stress-free (and drama-free) summer internship. Here are some tips to help you maneuver through the stressful, catty, or possibly reputation-ruining circumstances.
Stress From Trying to Secure a Job Offer
Many internships require you to do projects or presentations on your own in order to show your superiors how well you are getting to know the business. As interns, we are only working for a short time, it is hard to dive straight into the business and speak knowledgeably about the job without being stressed out.
There are a lot of ways to handle stress. If your work is getting harder and focusing becomes troublesome, take a break. Step away and go for a walk. All types of exercise can relieve stress.
Try taking a quick walk around the office or the building. This can help you clear your head and relax for a few minutes before you head back to your desk. Separating yourself, even for a few minutes, can allow you to return to your work and look at it more clearly.
Drama with Catty Interns
Catty girls are everywhere. I mean everyone has seen the movie Mean Girls, right? If you haven’t… well, what rock have you been living under? Okay, not every girl clique is as awful and as catty as The Plastics, but there will be disagreements, fights, or an unfriendly exchange of words. It is irrational to assume that everyone will get along for the entire summer.
So here is what you should do: if you are dealing with a catty girl (or group of girls) just avoid being around her (or them). The best way to stay out of the drama is to stay away from the people creating it.
If there is an argument, confront the problem. If you know you did something wrong then you should apologize and let bygones be bygones. If you are not sure why there is tension between you and another intern, talk it out. Chances are you both have something to say or neither of you really know why there is a problem.
Communication is key in all relationships in our lives, whether it is with friends, boyfriends, or co-workers. Talking it out is the mature, adult thing to do. It is okay to be wrong and admit you have made a mistake.
If you are unsure of the cause of the problem talking about it will only clarify the situation for both parties. Opening up a line of communication will allow for you and the other person to come up with a solution.
Gossip At the Office
It does not matter if it is another intern or someone fully employed at the company, if they approach you with gossip do not indulge. Do not partake in conversations about details and events in which you know nothing about. The last thing you want to happen is to be quoted on something you may have misspoken about because you thought or heard something happened and had not actually witnessed it yourself.
The real world is not like high school or college, these connections and impressions you are making are for your professional network not your personal network. Here is the general rule of thumb: if the person is comfortable enough to gossip with you they will be comfortable enough to gossip about you. So treat others how you would want to be treated and do not partake in gossip, especially at the workplace.
I have been approached by many full-time employees (younger ones, of course) who wanted to strike up a conversation and simply asked, “So, what’s the intern gossip these days?” Or people have heard “X, Y, and Z” and ask me to confirm or deny what they may have heard.
My answer is always, “I don’t know,” or “You would have to ask them.” Encouraging gossip from interns or full-time employees should be prevented (and can be) if you simply refuse to participate in it.
I hope this helps you deal with stress, drama, and gossip at your internship. Enjoy the weekend and remember these tips in case any of these situations arise in your internship future.