Wednesday, July 3, 2013

How Do You Deal With Competitive Interns?

After what seemed like years of anticipation, I'm finally back at Teen Mag! It seems like since the moment my plane landed last week, I've been buying clothes, stocking up on Moleskines, and flipping through my notes on HTML from last summer so that I could jump right into my work at Teen Mag. And it was so worth it!

I knew I was so excited to head back, but I didn't realize that my editors were excited to have me back as well! I was so happy that they each hugged me and asked me how my time abroad had been. It was so sweet! I was especially flattered that one of my editors called me her "star writer" and told me she couldn't wait to have my writing all over Seriously, I thought I might die of happiness.

Meeting this year's crop of interns, however, was not half as fun as reuniting with my editors. I had great expectations for them: Teen Mag is known for building intern classes that become really close, and my intern class from last summer still Facebook chats, tweets, and follows each other's blogs. (One of my fellow interns from last summer came to get lunch with me after she finished up an interview!) This summer, things don't look as peachy.

I knew that one of my duties this summer would be to help the new interns learn our complicated CMS, and I've been doing a much better job at teaching CMS than I thought I would! (SEO friendly titles! Don't forget to embed links! I think you forgot to write in HTML...) My supervisor told the other interns that they should ask me any questions about formatting or before they ask the editorial team since I'm pretty familiar with how things work. (I still have some catching up to do, but it's not completely new for me, like it is for these interns.) Two of the interns have no problem asking me for help, but I think one intern and I have really gotten off on the wrong foot.

I think this particular intern really loves Teen Mag and already wants a job there, and I think she might see me as a threat to her. She doesn't really work well on group assignments, she won't ask me questions, and has already cornered me and asked me if she thinks I'll be hired there — and we've only worked together three days! Though we're going to graduate at the same time, I genuinely want to help each of the interns learn the ropes of and be the best intern they can be. I had such a great experience this summer, and I want to recreate that! I'm especially conscious of how I talk to each of the interns when I'm helping them out, because I don't want them to think they're asking a stupid question or that I'm unapproachable. I also know that it must be weird that I came to work later than everyone else since I was abroad and now I'm a quasi-authority figure.

It really upsets me that we don't get along, and I don't know how to approach it. It's going to be a loooong summer, and I didn't come back to to make enemies. What do you think I should do, Edsters? I'm counting on you!

Until later Whippersnappers,
Web Intern


  1. I had an internship where the other interns got picked to make runs more often. They were always eager to do things my boss assigned ME to do. They tried to make me look bad sometimes and tried to make it seem as if they were better than me. It really sucked but I just stuck with what I was doing because I knew that I was working hard and my boss could see that.

    I think you should keep doing what you're doing. i love that you're trying to watch how you explain things to the interns, many people don't know—though it's not their intention–that they speak down one people. I also think maybe you should go out for a little treat together or just pull her aside and be truthful. Let her know that you are there to help and you don't like the bad air that you two have.

    Let me know how it goes! This could happen to anyone!
    Good luck in all your endeavors!

  2. Focus on yourself. If she wants help, she'll ask. If you are doing great things, and are a good team player, the staff will notice you and want you around. This is an especially stressful time and I bet with graduation approaching, she's just really worried that this is her only chance to get a job.