Monday, July 25, 2011

When Should You Suck Up To Get Ahead?

They’re everywhere – sneaky, pushy, annoying and in plain view for everyone to see. No, I’m not talking about the flyaway frizzies my hair gets when it rains, I’m talking about something much more irritating: the office suck-up.

I’ve heard stories about people going out of their way to please their bosses, editors, managers, whomever – but never did I witness anything like that until I started my fashion internship.

Let me tell you about the Fashion Mag’s resident suck-up; let’s call her the Queen of the Interns. Because, due to her shameless hierarchy-climbing tactics, that’s exactly what she is.

The Queen of the Interns started her internship a week or two before I did, but while I took my time slowly getting used to the water, she dove right in with a splash.

The Queen’s actions were small and innocent at first. Coming in a few minutes early, staying a few minutes late. Nothing wrong here – I’ve done the same when I’ve been assigned a large return. But what started off as 10 minutes turned into an hour, sometimes even beating the fashion assistants and editors themselves to the office.

Still, the other interns and I barely noticed. We’re all in the same boat and will do anything to make ourselves stand out. All’s fair in love and
war fashion, right? HA.

However, eventually the Queen crossed the line. A simple mid-day run to Starbuck’s revealed the Queen’s true colors.

Grande beverages in hand, she casually paraded over to one of the editor's desk.

“Editor,” the Queen said, “Starbucks made me two drinks by accident, do you want the other one?”

You could hear the jaws of the other interns hitting the floor. Somehow, I have a feeling that the “accident” had a $5 price tag.

Since then, the Queen has been receiving more substantial assignments, while the rest of us spend our time maintaining the fashion closet.

Don’t get me wrong – the Queen is a dedicated and ambitious intern. She’s also intelligent and friendly. But the way she interacts with assistants and editors makes her seem like she’ll do anything to get to the top, even through excessive flattery.

Maybe the Queen has the right idea. Maybe that’s how to get ahead in this industry. But I just can’t see myself as a brown-noser. Then again, fashion is just my summer fling; editorial is where my heart lies. Perhaps if I were carrying out an editorial internship I’d feel differently.

What do you think, Edsters? Should you try and win brownie points with your higher ups through flattery, or is old-fashioned hard work the way to go?


  1. In my experience there were so many interns who were completing the internship halfheartedly. Some openly hated the work. Some were just there to get through the day unscathed and go home. There were about three or four of us who were really dedicated. All it took to stand out was to show up, do good work with a great attitude, never decline projects, and to make sure the editors saw and knew you. I stepped up my game from day one and ended up being more of a stand out. (I also knew my stuff, which some girls, even by the end, did not.) There was a little brown nosing involved on my part, but I loved my boss and she was fabulous, so why not?

  2. Definitely not. I'm all for getting noticed, but not that way. I'm a fashion student with a love for editorial. I just finished my freshman year and I have already completed two major mag internships. And, I did not do this by sucking up- I did it through legit hard work. Whether its fashion of features, your editors got there for a reason- they're smart, meaning they completely see through her. Bribing the editors with Starbucks is NOT why she's getting bigger assignments. It is instead a result of hard work- arriving early, staying late - and, communication. She 95% asked the editor for more responsibility, and undoubtedly made them aware that her interest lies in editorial and she was extremely interested in getting the most experience as possible. Have a similar talk with your editor, and tell her that you can handle anything she/he throws at you!