7 Internship Horror Stories That'll Make Yours Seem Way Less Awful
During my college career, I completed seven internships. Seven!
I knew that if I ever wanted to work in media, I needed real-world experience. Media is a hugely competitive field, and it takes plenty of networking to succeed. Plus, you don't really understand bringing your A-game until your supervisor is a step away from throwing you out a window for not thoroughly fact-checking a feature on back hair.
Internships are rarely just coffee runs and being chained to your desk fact-checking, though. If you were crazy enough to try your luck at a fashion internship like me, you know that trying to nail your supervisor's coffee order were the easiest part of your day.
This isn't like "The Hills" and interns are not Lauren Conrad. Spoiler alert: No one gets invited to go to Paris. Your supervisor probably doesn't even know your name. In fact, there's as much manual labor involved in a fashion internship as there is in a job in construction.
Sure, some people complained about the long hours and ungrateful bosses. Conde Nast and Hearst got sued. Hell, Conde Nast got rid of their internship program altogether.
Personally, I'm not about that. Internships are what you make of them and you're always learning something — it just might not be the kind of something you were looking for. Besides, an editor throwing a hot cup of coffee at you for getting her order wrong builds character.
Kidding. But only slightly.
I asked my fellow media friends and co-workers about their worst internship experiences. All stories are anonymous, as are their former intern stomping grounds.
Whether you already have your full-time job or you're applying to your first internships, read on. Oh, and first-timers? Good luck.
Going to the hospital shows devotion to your craft.
I ended up spraining my wrist carrying a 150-pound designer dress back to my fashion internship's office. As a bonus, my supervisor was super upset because I let the hem drag on the floor, and not because I had to go to the ER after my day was over.
Bet she wasn't the first one to do something illegal.
I was a closet intern for a super well-known, high-end magazine. One day, we were helping prep for a photoshoot and the editor was freaking out because the stylist needed white sneakers to complete a look, and we only had black. The editor then told the assistant to get white sneakers using any means she could. So, instead of running out and grabbing a pair of white sneakers from somewhere, the assistant tasked me with SPRAY PAINTING every one of the sneakers white. Mind you, I did this in a small room within the closet where there were no windows. By the time I was done -- there were a dozen pairs of sneakers in all -- I was super light-headed. I also must've inhaled a ton of spray paint, because when I looked in the mirror, the entire bottom of my nose was white. I looked like I was snorting cocaine in the fashion closet, which probably wouldn't have been that far off from the truth, anyway.
She made Miranda Priestly look like a darling.
I worked in PR at this major fashion house. Like a big-time-ass fashion house. I was SO excited. Well, it was one of the worst experiences of my f*cking life. The head of PR was the wicked witch of the west. She even looked like a witch: 6 feet tall, 95 pounds, grey skin and dry-as-f*ck dark hair. She was terrifying. She wouldn't even talk to me or the other two interns. She called us “the girls” and would tell her assistant (who she also treated like garbage) to tell us to do things…even though we all sat IN THE SAME ROOM. I was once sent to -- no joke -- five different libraries to PRINT FASHION PICS FOR THIS BITCH'S TUMBLR. Like, for her personal f*cking tumblr. She used to send me to get salads for the whole team. Four different credit cards, four vastly different orders. Never once offered to get me lunch.
How do people like this exist?
An internship I had which was not paid made me transcribe video interviews for eight hours a day and the boss would have me go pick up lunch for her so she wouldn't have to tip the delivery person."
F*cking hate tank tops.
I interned at a large lifestyle magazine as a fashion intern and the (celebrity) editor-in-chief had her own closet within the fashion closet that we could never enter. I literally had to stick my hand in there once to get something and was forced to awkwardly stand outside the curtain and blindly feel for what I needed to get. One day I was given the task to steam 35 of her camis. 35 of the same color cami. Who the f*ck steams camis?
Never work in radio.
I interned at a radio station, and my boss not only had it for me, but he was a complete douche 70 percent of the time. He was really insecure and had anger issues which I had to deal with almost on a regular basis. He also took to his Facebook statuses to talk sh*t about me, where he had a huge troll following of the upstate [New York] area. This was my first experience with internet bullying coming from a 40-something radio host. It was truly the cherry on top of my internship. The entire experience furthered me from ever wanting to work in radio again."
Nothing is sacred.
I was an unpaid intern at a very reputable director's production company and had the absolute most terrifying supervisor of all time. Let's call her Vikki. She was truly a bad person, I have to say. Honestly, my memory has blocked a lot of it out because I'm survivor but here's a list of weird sh*t I had to do: To start off the internship, they made me disclose which family members I had in the business, and their names. I had none. Looking back, I'm pretty sure this was for them to gauge how badly they could treat you. For example, a girl whose mother was a producer was treated with the utmost respect. I once cleaned out/refreshed [the director's] medicine cabinet which consisted of throwing out endless boxes of used hemorrhoid medication. After making fun of this to my family, I later got a hemorrhoid. Karma is real... He only liked Pepperidge Farm ultra-thin sliced whole wheat bread, which was only sold at one grocery store in the city. I dare you to guess the ratio of how many times I bought this bread to how many times it was actually eaten. Hint: It was never eaten. We had to refill a water pitcher in his bathroom and made 12 cups of coffee every day, regardless of whether or not he was coming in that day. I was obviously yelled at for making the coffee "too dark". I wrapped all of his wife's Mother's Day and birthday presents (straight Armani) and sent his daughters flowers on Valentine's Day. Nothing is sacred. After working for the spawn of the devil herself, I emailed my supervisor Vikki for a recommendation letter. She never responded. I pray for her children and hope they are paying her enough to cover their future trauma therapy sessions.
Time for a group hug, interns! But first, fetch me some coffee. And be sure to get it right this time.