Wednesday, August 03, 2005


Summer brings us a batch of interns from the local universities. For the most part, these are hard working guys and girls, and they do get to see how this business really works. They work hard for their summer, usually two to four hours a day, for two or three days a week. This year, we had Smarty show up on the program. Smarty is a pretty clueless kid with a quick wit who thought he was going to get to spend his summer researching stocks and making recommendations. Smarty clearly had a Hollywood mental image of a Brokerage. The first project he was assigned to was stuffing envelopes. Not exactly "Bud Fox" at work, talking to "Gekko". For the newbies in the office (new hires with less than a year on the job), the interns are a welcome sight. The cruddy work of marketing gets dumped on interns pretty quickly-- producing mailings, envelope stuffing, creating databases, and all the fun stuff the newbies handle for themselves the rest of the year.

Smarty has been around for about a month now and he has worked hard. Unfortunately, one of our newbies has dumped some pretty crappy projects on Smarty. It was amazing that they haven't yet come to blows, but it's been close. As one of the three members of the hiring committee, I would normally send an intern like Smarty packing when he started popping off about a regular employee, but I got to see the crap he took from our newbie. So, I kept him around even after he made some pretty rude comments. If the comments about the newbie had been false, I may not have been so understanding, but Smarty was spot on. After getting sent to the office supply store for the fifth time in one day, Smarty popped off about our newbie and got a few laughs from a couple of the other brokers. The newbie hit my office before the close that day, and complained about Smarty, and I produced my best look of concern. However, I knew how bad Smarty had been pushed over the last few weeks, so I told the newbie that the interns were off limits to him for the rest of the summer. He was steamed about not having use of a personal gofer any longer more than he was about me not taking a hard stance against Smarty. Sometimes, you have to get a newbie's attention, and allowing borderline unacceptable intern actions sends a certain message.

I may have to recommend doubling the number of interns we accept next summer.


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