When I was younger and life was full of flowers and unicorns, I had, by accident, watched a lot of British films where beautiful women woke up with makeup on their faces, managed to wear an elegant coat with a pair of stilettos, grabbed a warm cup of coffee and entered the meeting room right on time, with a bright smile flashing on their faces. Ever since then, the thought of winning at life and workplaces became forever imprinted on my mind. But I had to start somewhere. So I became an intern, the eternal embodiment of endless possibilities…or so I thought.
Here's an account of one of my most *cough* productive days as an intern.
I wake up to find my computer flashing at least ten Quora tabs, each explaining how to use a copy machine and how to make good coffee. Smugly thinking how my homework from last night would pay off and how I would finally impress my boss with my photocopying skills, I wear my very chic, office-exclusive shirt I bought last week, with a bright smile on my face.
Skipping breakfast, I start early for office, ready to conquer the world with my excellent work ethic. I stop by at the nearest tong (the fault in our Starbucks) to grab some coffee like in the movies but I end up spilling it on my new dress. Nevertheless, I walk away head held high, as the tong mama and the rest of the universe gasps at the horrible woman that they think I am.
I arrive thirty minutes late to office, thanks to Dhaka traffic. Luckily, no one notices me as I almost tiptoe to my seat. The other interns are already there in their respective seats, smirking at me and judging my inefficiency quietly. Clearly, I am yet to make friends at the office.
I open my email hoping to find work assigned to me. I find none.
There has been quite an improvement in my workload in the last three hours. I was asked to go to the store room to get a stapler and I did that in five minutes. I have also mastered the art of staring at my monitor for the rest two hours and 55 minutes. I tried playing some solitaire but afraid the security camera above my head might get some incriminating footage to be used against me, I decided to brush up my staring skills some more.
Lunch was horrible. I tried making friends with the other interns in exchange of a few death stares. The food at the canteen was okay but it almost cost me a kidney. I had a good time bonding with a girl from another department at the restroom though. We shared the same colour of lipstick and ranted about the same work schedule.
I had heard how workplaces were all about surprises but I did not know they were of such intensity. In the last two hours, I have been asked to make tea instead of the coffee I had worked so hard for the night before. I even asked my boss if she was sure she wanted tea in the hopes she would change her mind and let me have my moment of triumph. I have also been asked to scan over a hundred documents, the biggest task I have ever been assigned in the history of my internship, reminding me about my inefficiency to use machines that involved papers and patience.
But thank God for the free Wi-Fi. At least I can watch videos and learn how to make sense of such impromptu chores which were never taught to me back in school.
A few of the seniors treated us interns with chocolates as we prepared to leave. Being an intern is not all that bad. I pat my back thinking about how far I have come in the last one week. Despite the inverse relationship my work has with my expensive university degree, I can now scan documents, photocopy them, print them and make good coffee.
I open the office door and make a royal exit, mentally noting down the things I have to look up on the internet to be prepared for the next day.
Mashiat Lamisa is often seen frowning at the sight of people who dislike poetry and tomatoes. She can be reached at email@example.com