Confessions of an Intern

I sit in a cubicle and do not see more than thirty minutes of sunlight on the days I work the 9-5 shift. Occasionally, I complete all my assignments an hour to thirty minutes before my workday ends.

Colleges and universities have evolved into large impersonal corporations that churn out students with freshly pressed degrees. Universities operate like factories, and students are nothing more than assigned numbers. When a fresh college graduate applies for a job, the employer looks at their G.P.A. to assess their usefulness. Numbers sit well with people, and give employers an easy way to assess and evaluate a potential employee. Internships are important. Your fabulous internship makes you stand out from the crowd of college kids.

More people equates to a more prolific workplace. Sometimes, near the end of the day, I feel that my main job is to just exist. The hackneyed expression “misery loves company” comes to mind on especially tiring days. I feel that people enjoy having me around to mitigate their suffering. An added person in the office increases the sheer number of people working, and in turn bolsters the office camaraderie. We all work toward the common goal of five o’ clock. No one ever leaves early. Everyone has a clear view of the door, making it difficult for employees to sneak out before five pm without anyone noticing. The phenomenon of groupthink, or when a group disregards a logical decision in favor of an illogical one, transpires daily. Groupthink occurs when people strive to avoid conflict. The term was invented by social psychologist Irving Janis. I am sure the other employees/interns finish their assignments before five pm, but no one dares to leave early. By staying until at least five pm, we do not accomplish more work. People idly pass the time by sitting at their desks waiting for five pm. Mandating that all employees remain in the office until five pm can be irrational. Forcing employees to stay until five pm does not necessarily increase productivity. If one departs from work early, instead of staying until exactly five pm, noting detrimental transpires. Leaving early does not automatically negatively affect the wellbeing of a company. The American workforce operates according to the clock. We are slaves to the clock. Workplace environments rob people of their humanity. If an employee wants to leave work early, simply for the sake of leaving early, it is not unreasonable for them to do so. However, employees must all remain at work until the clock strikes five pm. In the eyes of a supervisor, an employee sitting in the office twiddling their thumbs looks better than an employee jetting out early. Although I do accomplish things, a latent function of my internship position is simply having my person fill the spare cubicle.

When the workday is done, it is time to go eat fancy desserts.




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