One of my goals for making my first impression as an intern was simple…don’t mess up. Little mistakes that we learn from are always fine, but I really didn’t want to step on any toes or offend anyone. So, for the first couple of days, I kept my eyes open and my mouth shut.
The State Department
is one of the largest bureaucracies in the world. There are levels and sub levels, Training Technicians and Training Assistants, and to every Director, there is a Deputy Director. I knew that the best way to avoid awkward incidents would be to quickly figure out where I was in the hierarchy. Once that was clear, I had a much better idea of how I should act and react around the different people in my office. After that, office etiquette came naturally. I know which jokes to laugh at, when my personal stories are appropriate, and who to go to with which questions.
I’ve been getting along so well with everyone in my office that I forgot about the new intern that was starting half way through the term. At first, my new coworker came crashing into the little world I had grown to love. Everyone was telling her how excited they were that she was there and how they were looking forward to getting to know her and how she was going to do great. I felt forgotten, left out, and a bit jealous. Have you heard of Middle Child Syndrome? I began to develop what I have started calling Middle Intern Syndrome.
Image from Time.com
However, a little self reflection gave me a reality check. The new intern was supposed to start when I started, but was held up with travel complications. Now she’s here and anxious to get caught up. And best of all, I’m not doing everything by myself anymore! In the last few days I have realized that I now have a teammate. While stuffing folders for an hour this week, we found many things we have in common (which was not difficult at all since we are both living our dream internship). We’re becoming an efficient and friendly pair that the office adores. They are even throwing an Intern Lunch in our honor to thank us for all of our work!
Moral of the story: Keep an open mind and never turn down a potential friend.