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The first 15 minutes of my internship was a dream come true; I was interning in the heart of the city at a prestigious marketing firm, and I got the job without having any prior experience.

Flooding my brain were thoughts of team meetings, brainstorming sessions, and creating advertising campaigns. When I reached the 6th floor of the lavish building I found my desk and was given my first assignment… It involved creating a long spreadsheet consisting of over 2000 items with detailed info.

I thought to myself, “This I just the beginning. I’m definitely going to get to work on more challenging tasks!”

One month later the magic had long faded. At that point, I was still creating useless spreadsheets (which weren’t even being used!) and was only allowed to sit in on one meeting.

Those brainstorming sessions and advertising campaigns I was thinking about? They never happened. But, I’m not the type to quit so I hung on and kept on doing every task, no matter how mediocre it may have been.

The worst part of the company, hands down, was the culture. I was expecting to walk into a professional setting, not the set of Mean Girls! Everyone was cussing, throwing F-bombs left and right, and gossiping about one another. I know gossip is to be expected in any setting, but the level the people at my internship took it to was off the charts. It truly disgusted me how they acted! Plus, I was never even formally introduced to anybody but the main marketing director with whom I worked exclusively with, so my “co-workers” consisted of nine strangers and one person that I actually knew.

My main goal going into this internship was to make a difference. I wanted to know that all those spreadsheets I was making were actually being put to use. I wanted to know that I was helping the company. What I got, however, was a hard dose of reality and a long list of spreadsheets on my desktop…

Now that my internship from hell is over, I wanted to share my story. Here’s my advice to internship-seekers:

1) Never go in with very high expectations because (like me) they may quickly get shot down.

2) Bigger (and more well-known) isn’t necessarily always better when it comes to companies.

3) Do some research on the company you’re applying to, like looking up reviews – a good resource is Glassdoor. (Note: After completing my internship, I looked up the company on Glassdoor and saw reviews upon reviews from former or current employees tearing it down, and the sad part was everything they were saying was true!)

That being said, don’t get discouraged! My intern horror story was only one bad experience and there are plenty of great internship opportunities out there to take advantage of. Good luck!

Do you have an intern horror story or an intern success story you want to share? Tell us in the comments!


Featured photo credit: smashcon via photopin cc