Wednesday, June 20, 2012

How Do You Deal With Competitive Interns?

Hey Edsters! 

Things are still going well at the Lifestyle Mag. I have a much better idea of what to do so I can stay busy, and with a couple of long-term projects passed to me by editors, I've been staying busy. 

Here at Lifestyle Mag, there are 4 summer interns, and there is one in particular that I work closely with on a daily basis. For the sake of this blog, we'll call the other intern Annie. So far I've really loved working with Annie. She's really cool, hard working, and has great goals for her future career in magazines. However, Annie and I have been getting closer lately and for the first time this week she referred to me as the dreaded "C" word I've been trying so desperately to avoid.

Annie called me her competition.

I knew all along that we were competition to each other, but maybe I'm not competitive enough to admit it? Or maybe I'm too competitive? Either way, I've really enjoyed getting to know Annie both inside and outside of the office. I just get very nervous thinking about how we'll be graduating at the same time, and the idea of us going up against each other for jobs turns my stomach upside down. 

During my first internship there was also another intern that I worked very closely with, but our relationship was different than the one between Annie and me. It was definitely understood from the beginning that we respected each other, but were secretly trying to out-perform each other throughout the course of the internship. It became so stressful for me that after a few weeks of interning together, we essentially stopped communicating with one another. We haven't spoken since we went our separate ways, and I truthfully don't know how long it will take before one of us cordially asks the other for coffee to see how our summers are going. 

Things haven't been like that for Annie and me. The first few weeks were spent trying to get to know our way around the office, and we do a lot of our daily intern tasks together. We'll also stop by each others desks during the day to share a funny story, or go grab coffee in the middle of an especially exhausting afternoon. But this past week, Annie and I began to open up to one another in a way that I never had in my previous internship. 

While out to lunch one day, we were talking about an assignment that we had both been given in which we're allowed to pitch ideas and see them through until we'll eventually receive a byline. We were throwing a few details back and forth while staying candid to our ideas, until eventually I stopped dancing around the details and offered her a couple of tips to bring her idea to its potential.

At that point Annie told me that it was a good idea and thanked me, and we began talking about how each of us thought it was time we started digging a little bit deeper with our editors to get some good assignments, or at least stay a little bit busier. I really appreciated having the opportunity to have this conversation with Annie and essentially clear the air. We admitted that we both realize that we are one another's competition, but that we also have mutual respect for each other and like each other as people, not just as coworkers. It's a conversation that I wish I was able to have last semester to establish a more open and supportive relationship with my fellow intern as opposed to feeling like we were sneaking around each other the entire time.

I'm not saying that you should build a relationship with your fellow interns that will eventually turn into your getting thrown under the bus, but it's much less stressful to know that the air between Annie and me has been cleared of any current or future animosity.

How are your relationships with your fellow interns? I'd love to hear how different relationships are building in the comments!

Until next Wed,
Ed's Lifestyle Intern


  1. I LOVE MY FELLOW INTERNS. No space for hate in here. <3!

    P.S. Bitchy girls come last. Be nice, play nice. Work hard.

    For my girls Emma, Rachel, and Foram.


    - Karen H.

    1. Hey Karen! That's great that you and your fellow interns get along so well. Any tips for other Edsters about how to build positive relationships with other interns?

  2. I work with one other intern, and he is constantly taking credit for the work I do. We work on a lot of group projects, but since they are all assigned at once we split them up. He has been taking credit for the projects I do 95% of the work on. Any advice?