Seagull baiting & toilet flushing: interns share WORST work experience roles

The purpose of a work experience placement should be to give a university undergraduate the opportunity to enhance their skills, come to terms with the office environment, make contacts and above all, improve their skillsets for CV purposes.

While some interns may be tasked with some of the more mundane tasks such as filling out spreadsheets, taking down minutes in meetings and occasionally making the tea and coffee, they should leave their placement having learnt more than that otherwise it is utterly pointless.

We asked what the most clichéd, ridiculous or horrible task that interns were assigned to do on work experience was and it received lots of shocking responses.

1. Crossed the line – At a film production company once I was asked to use a ruler to draw very specifically spaced lines on every page of a new logbook.

2. Loafing around – I did work experience at the North West Evening Mail, in a town where there was a big issue with seagulls. I had a wear a motorbike helmet topped with a bread bun (!) and sit in a retail centre car park so their photographer could get a seagull “dive bomb” photo. Good fun tbh!

3. Tea-leafing my work – A features editor on a glossy women’s mag stopped me doing a writing assignment for another team member and instructed me to move everything from her desk to another desk while she had a cup of tea

4. Foot in the door – A ~lifestyle editor~ at a London magazine where I was an intern made me go to the Office shoe shop down the road to buy her sandals because her shoes were hurting her feet.

5. Just pug-et it – Once got sent to the Cartier store on Bond st to drop of a birthday cake for someone’s dog

6. Twitter sweet – one desk made me draft tweets by hand. I hand to hand write the tweets and give them to the editor for checking.

7. Slip up – Smearing cola on the soles of the actors’ shoes at the director’s request, to stop them slipping. Being bawled out by Name Actress for smearing unwanted cola on the soles of her shoes.

8. Do not disturb – I spent four weeks at a publishing company, there was a spreadsheet in the kitchen for how everyone liked their tea so we didn’t have to disturb them to ask

9. Take a seat – or not – When I was 19, I commuted from Portsmouth to London everyday for a fortnight to sit on the floor of a fashion cupboard at a major women’s mag. Apparently they ‘didn’t have a chair for the room’

10. I’ve got the poo-wer – After seeing the Devil Wears Prada my first boss, who essentially lived in the office, decided to protest being the last to leave each night by leaving an enormous unflushed turd in the toilets for me to find and flush when I was the first in each morning.

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