Trained and tested in the flames of inadequacy, the fertile ashes of destitution provide for the emergence of the ripe succulent — so is the rise of the promoted intern. There’s nothing quite like that point in an architect’s career where they go from being an intern to having interns. For some, this is a gradual transition, for others, the brilliant metamorphosis comes with the casualness of a coin flip, such abrupt transitions contain a moment of eureka. Through being spit on, kicked, and blamed for your supervisor’s oversights — you really begin to think about how you treat other people, especially those who are in a place you so recently crawled out from. These are my post-destitute reflections on how to treat interns:
1. Assume interns are as smart as you and kindly compensate when necessary. Simply because an intern doesn’t know what a bulb tee is, can’t spell, “spider joint,” and thinks flashing has something to do with Tiesto, doesn’t make them useless. Your job as an architect includes utilizing their strengths and developing their areas of weakness.
2. Always take credit with “we” and accept blame with “I.” This is more a rule for the workplace in general. Don’t be the dick that “doesn’t make mistakes.”
3. Give of your time. There will always be too much work to do, training your interns right the first time will prevent you from having to redline every fifteen minutes. It’s the whole, “teach a man to fish…” thing.
4. Approximate time you expect work to be finished by and be forgiving if they don’t deliver exactly as you expect. Interns are rarely subversive. Consider the fact you might suck at explaining things.
5. Don’t assign busy work. If there is nothing to do, suggest your intern to work on a tutorial.
6. And this next one has happened, otherwise I wouldn’t say it — don’t take food from interns. Even if they offer, you should be hesitant. At no point ever should you snatch up food from an interns desk munching happily as you condescendingly explain a project.
7. Stop Talking. Leave the friendly banter for the bar, ’tis better to give directions and go. You’ll increase productivity and your interns will respect you for sparing them the obligatory small talk. In some situations, the small talk can be helpful, but keep it to a minimum.
Alternatively, if you’re still an intern:
1. Ask if there is work to do. Don’t sit around expecting work to find you — that’s how you get assigned busy work.
2. Don’t sigh like a little bitch.
BuildingSatire is a blog consisting of architectural satire, cynicism, and humor to alleviate the tension and pretension in professional architecture. we also have a twitter. whatup.