Thursday, July 12, 2012

Would You Speak Up If An Intern Wasn't Doing Her Job?

Hey Edsters,

I’m just about halfway into my internship, and things are going well. I’ve learned a lot so far, and I really feel like I’ve become a part of the office dynamic. In the past few weeks, though, I’ve come to a bit of a dilemma. What would you do if you knew one of the other interns wasn’t doing her job right?

There’s a group of us interns with rotating schedules, meaning that we don’t necessarily work with the same people every day. I work three days in a row, so I can usually start and finish the same projects over the course of the week. Other interns, however, may work every other day, so sometimes we go into each other’s e-mails to finish up whatever they had been working on the day before. This may seem weird, but we all have the same password, and it feels normal to read other people’s e-mails now.

One day last week, though, I went into another intern’s e-mail to check if she had gotten fact-checking responses from a publicist. She had gotten answers, so I printed out the e-mail and started inputting changes into the article. I soon realized, though, that she had worded the questions in the exact same wording as was in the actual story—something that our editor definitely told us not to do on our very first day of work.

We’re supposed to reword the questions so that the publicist doesn’t know exactly what the Mag is saying about their clients until the actual article is published. There could be a bias in the article, especially in a restaurant review like this particular story, which is something that we wouldn’t want the publicist to find out about until later. Things could change at the last second, and they might try to influence the slant of the story, among other things.  

Maybe she had forgotten that we weren’t supposed to do this. Regardless, I decided to confront my fellow intern about it. I worded it as a friendly reminder, like I didn’t want her to get in trouble. She said she didn’t know and thanked me for telling her.

This week, though, I again found myself working on what she had been doing the day before, only to find that she had done the same thing again! To make matters worse, I discovered that she or another intern from that day had given out information that I had been trying to keep secret from a publicist under instructions from an editor—and that info was sent from my e-mail.

Usually I wouldn’t think twice about this. It’s not any of my business anyway. The problem is that as interns, we’re supposed to be working as a team. If she does something that we were told we’re not supposed to do, we could all go down. Not to mention that she could end up giving away information that the magazine doesn’t want out.

I know it’s not my responsibility to correct her mistakes, but I’m not sure I should be reporting her to the editors either. I don’t want it to seem like I’m going behind her back or trying to be competitive. But at the same time, I don’t want to end up getting blamed if something goes wrong.

What would you do, Edsters? Would you risk hurting a potential friendship with your fellow intern to make sure you don’t get in trouble? Or would you just mind your own business? 

Thanks for your help!
Regional Intern


  1. I would go to the other intern first. A quick reminder from you will keep out of trouble, but get her on the right track. ( :

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  3. I would tell the intern that she must not repeat it again or the proper administration will be the one to face her :)