How to lose your internship in 10 easy steps

(p.s. — Don’t do these things!)

So, you’ve finally secured your dream internship. You may think it’s smooth sailing from here on out, but internships call for a lot of hard work and dedication. You could easily lose your internship if you’re not careful. Steer clear of these 10 simple mistakes, and you’ll walk away with a rewarding internship experience.

  1. Arrive late everyday: Yep. Being the last one in the office every morning is a good idea if you really hate the place and want to get canned. Otherwise, invest in a Clocky Alarm Clock on wheels and get to work on time.
  2. Dress like you’re in last night’s party clothes: If the office you’re working in is business casual, please don’t go in dressing like you’ve spent the night drinking martinis, passed out on the floor fully dressed, and walked into work wearing the same outfit. Be professional. Take a hint from Virginia Tech’s Career Service department on how to dress business casual.
  3. Make personal phone calls: Talking loudly to your BFF at your desk about the party last night (reaffirming that you’re definitely wearing the same outfit this morning) is another no-go. If you must make a personal call, do so on your lunch break, or at least go to the bathroom.
  4. Do tonight’s homework at your desk: We all know that it can be tempting to pull out our homework when we have a free minute, but if you want to keep the internship you should resist. Use your own time to get your work done, not your boss’s.
  5. Surf the Internet on your work computer: This is what smart phones are for during your lunch break. Otherwise, you can wait to update your status until you get home.
  6. Order the most expensive item on the menu when dining on your boss’s tab: Emily Grier of Her Campus writes in her June 9, 2011 article “How to Lose an Internship in 10 Ways” that a sure-fire way to lose the respect of coworkers and your boss is to order the most expensive item on the list. Grier says, “Treat any meals out for work or with coworkers like a meal out with your parents. Order the filet mignon for dinner, and you’ll definitely be hearing about it later.” While we’re at it, not using your table manners is a good way to lose respect, too. Keep your elbows off the table and, for Pete’s sake, use a napkin!
  7. Bad mouth your place of employment: Natalie Ladd writes in “Tips for losing your job this summer,” posted on April 4, 2012, for The Portland Daily Sun, that while it may seem like an obvious thing to avoid, complaining about your workplace is definitely a no-no. And, if you simply must complain, don’t do it on Facebook!
  8. Lie on your resume and then tell your coworkers you lied: You probably only scored that internship with the marketing department because you said you had previous experience, right? Bad idea. Just be honest; it’ll take you much further in life. And besides, eventually people always find out the truth.
  9. Show your anger-management issues: Again, Grier advises: “Here’s a good rule of thumb: even the worst day should not end with you hitting the copy machine with your purse. Ever.”
  10. Become romantically involved with your boss: As Ladd writes, your boss probably has a boss, too and you won’t want to “give your coworkers an excuse to complain that you receive partiality and favoritism. And who do you think the Big boss will fire first? You or Romeo?”

Now that you’ve taken notes on what NOT to do during your time in the office, you should be well on your way to rocking that internship and maybe even scoring a full-time position!

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