Co-op placements and internships can be challenging, exciting, and eye-opening experiences. It can be hard to get a good one, but if you’ve worked hard and landed yourself the placement of a lifetime, you want to do everything you can to make a good impression and get the most of the short time you have. Obviously you should pay attention to the conventional tips; show up to work early, stay late, be pro-active, look for ways that you can be an asset to your employer, and be humble; you’re not going to be a Senior Sales Manager on your first day. However, I think the unconventional tips are what are going to potentially save you from being the idiot 20 year-old at the company. It won’t matter if you work 60 hours a week and single-handedly earn the company $100 grand if you hook up with your boss’ daughter, so read these Unconventional Tips for being the Least-Hated Co-op Student at your company.
1. Let’s start off with a simple one: Don’t get in road rage. Why, you ask? Well, unless you work for a company of three, and those three people have no clients, relatives, friends or network of any sort, the chances of you flipping off your company’s CEO, your manager’s next potential client, or the husband of your co-worker (whom you will meet at your company Christmas party), are quite high. It’s Murphy’s Law. So what if there are 500,000 people in your city, I guarantee the person you call an #$*%’ing idiot and tell them to go back to driving school WILL be someone you know. So the next time you get pissed in traffic, take a breath, put on some classical music and move on.
2. Change your phone ringer to sound like a phone, or better yet put it on silent. Having “Slave 4U” going off in a business meeting will not gain you respect, if you get lucky it will make your boss think that’s your offer to work Saturday and Sunday. Either way, just change your ringtone.
3. Always double check your “TO:” line in your e-mails, even the CC: and BCC:’s. “OMG my boss sux sooo much and his secretary is a total biatch” will likely get you the boot, but if it doesn’t get you fired it will definitely make for an unpleasant few months. I hope to God you would never be dumb enough to send an e-mail like that in the first place, but if you are that dumb, at least make sure that it’s going to your BFF and not your CEO.
4. If you have a car, make sure that it’s clean and change your radio station to classic rock or something boring before you get out of the car. You might think I’m going to far with this, but you’ll wish you listened to me when a colleague needs a ride home and “Let’s get N-A-S-T-Y get ready for a nasty time” is bumping and you have last week’s McDick’s wrappers on the floor. You might not lose your job for it, but you’ll definitely solidify your status as the “20 year-old tool” of the office.
5. Depending on how much of a party guy/girl you are, this one may not sit well with you – but don’t bring home any hotties from the bar for the duration of your placement. Like I said about Murphy’s Law, that hot babe you’re picking up WILL be your boss’ daughter, and honestly that’s only hot until you have your desk packed up for you on Monday morning. I’m certain there’s no one-night stand worth losing your hard-earned job for. If this just seems like a FAR too challenging task for you (Ew, go on a date, don’t pick people up in bars) at least make sure you do some research before doing the dirty. Tell the person where you work, if they say “Oh! You must know my Mom Jane in accounting!!” - Run.
Hopefully these tips will help you out in the future. If you think of any unconventional tips I’ve forgotten, write a comment, maybe we can save some poor co-op students from failure.
Peace and Love,