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That intern: The "What dress code?" intern

Jenna Johnson

Every intern class has so many personalities that they could fill a "Real World" cast. And every class has "That Intern" -- as in, "Don't be that intern." Each day I introduce you to one of those interns.

(Today's intern was suggested by Emma Carew, a former Post intern who now works at The Chronicle of Philanthropy.)

The "What dress code?" intern stands out from the rest of the interns for very obvious reasons: Everyone else is wearing suits and ties, pencil skirts and button-downs, while that intern is in jeans. Or flip-flops. Or anything too-tight, too-short, too-casual, too-dirty or too-wrinkled.

And it's not just a first-day mistake, it's an ongoing problem. People in the office try to give that intern less-than-subtle hints -- like when the boss pulled out an extra tie and demanded that intern put it on. Or when the intern supervisor asked that intern not to be in the group photo for the Web site. Or when all the other interns staged an intervention at happy hour. Or when that intern suddenly got a nickname like, "The Skintern."

Want to help me stereotype over-worked, under-appreciated, misunderstood interns? Shoot me an e-mail.

Campus Overload is a daily must-read for all D.C. interns. So, make sure to bookmark http://washingtonpost.com/campus-overload. You can also follow me on Twitter and fan Campus Overload on Facebook.

By Jenna Johnson  |  June 17, 2010; 11:07 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. Interns  | Tags: That Intern  
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Comments

Oh man, we've got one of those right now. We're a pretty casual place (I'm wearing jeans right now) but sweatpants? Really?

Posted by: em15 | June 18, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

My sister was just telling me yesterday about what her new intern wore on her first day: spandex bike shorts, stiletto heels and a man's oxford with a big belt. Spandex bike shorts!!! At a federal agency. How dense can you be? The worst i've seen in my office is flip-flops, and it's not just interns - young woman just don't get it (and I'm not much older). Even if no one says anything to you, you are being judged. I tried to warn a friend that wears flip flops in my office because I know her boss is conservative. She just laughed me off. Now she's angry that he's not putting her up for promotion. Her work is good, but her boss doesn't respect her.

Posted by: LilyBell | June 18, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Ack, I forgot about another intern in my office in my last post! We are not business casual and we don't have casual Fridays. She showed up on a Friday wearing cut-off denim shorts with black leggings underneath and a spaghetti-strap tank top. Every single item of clothing she was wearing is against our dress code. She was sent home and of course she had a tantrum and played the victim.

Posted by: LilyBell | June 18, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

A piece of advice to all interns. This column is not helpful. The best way to succeed is to focus on your own performance, forget all of the office BS and make sure you are getting the job done and done well. Gossiping about others choice of attire, performance, etc. comes across as immature and petty and is a waste of time so stop. You are entering the work force so it is time to grow up. You may lose the intern popularity contest, but your managers will appreciate your professionalism and your work ethic.

Posted by: curiousinva | June 18, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

I'm surprised that curiousinva doesn't understand that getting ahead simply means doing your job.

Those are the people in 15 years complain bitterly about all the other people promoted ahead of them, complaining about how "other people just brown nose" and "this company is too stupid because there's too much emphasis on how people dress".

Plus there is a reading comprehension problem. The column isn't advocating gossip, it's simply saying "dress like everyone else is"

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | June 18, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

curiousinva wrote (in part):
...but your managers will appreciate your professionalism and your work ethic.
****
Are you really that dense? Someone that ignores a stated policy, and hardly an onerous one, is NOT BEING professional. If you, and the Intern can't see that then I certainly hope you have a fall-back career in mind. For your sake one where you are self employed.

Posted by: overed | June 18, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Overed - I wasn't defending people who don't dress appropriately at work. They clearly have their own issues. Simply advising interns (those dressed appropriately) to not waste time worrying about others, but to instead focus on their own performance.

Ombudsmen1 - no reading comprehension problemn. Just disagree with the general tone of the column. See above - interns would be better served focusing on their own work rather than their coworkers.

Making sure I meet and exceed expectations is a formula that has served me very well for over 15 years as a professional. Just friendly advice. Choose to ignore it if you want.

Posted by: curiousinva | June 18, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Overed - I wasn't defending people who don't dress appropriately at work. They clearly have their own issues. Simply advising interns (those dressed appropriately) to not waste time worrying about others, but to instead focus on their own performance.

Ombudsmen1 - no reading comprehension problem. Just disagree with the general tone of the column. See above - interns would be better served focusing on their own work rather than what their coworkers are doing.

Focusing on the task in front of me and making sure I meet and exceed expectations instead of focusing on my peers is a formula that has served me very well for over 15 years as a professional. Just friendly advice. Choose to ignore it if you want.

Posted by: curiousinva | June 18, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

curiousinva:
mea culpa. I obviously misread the tenor of your initial post.

Posted by: overed | June 18, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

This stuff is funny. Almost as funny as the look on the interns face when they realize they won't be starting at $60,000.00 a year. Too funny.

Posted by: biffgrifftheoneandonly | June 18, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

This stuff is funny. Almost as funny as the look on the interns face when they realize they won't be starting at $60,000.00 a year. Too funny.

Posted by: biffgrifftheoneandonly | June 18, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Things could be worse--a lot worse. Check out this article about a company in Britain that has Naked Fridays!

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/5718984/Staff-strip-naked-to-improve-morale.html

Posted by: firebird32 | June 18, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

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