How to Waste your Summer Internship without getting Fired

Warning: sarcasm in use

Make no attempt to learn from mentors or experts. Learning is over-rated, and everything you need to know is in a book somewhere, anyway.

Arrive as late as possible every single day, without violating policy. This way you have less face-to-face time with your co-workers.

Go to all meetings you are invited to, arrive late, do not prepare, and avoid participation as much as possible.

Never ask any questions. Admitting you don’t know what a term or acronym means is unacceptable. Try to figure it out on your own or make up your own meaning. If that fails, just give up.

Don’t bother taking any notes at any point of time. Note taking is a sign of weakness.

When you get stuck on something, remain stuck for at least a week before asking for help. Asking for help is also a sign of weakness.

Never attempt to understand “the why” of your project. Just follow instructions verbatim, with as little creativity as possible.

Always have social media, YouTube, or CandyCrush open on your computer’s screen. This will help the time pass faster. If anyone says something about it, just say you are taking a break.

Avoid all social activities. You’ll never see those people again after your internship. Even if you did connect with them later via the Internet, they will never be helpful to you in any way.

Always eat lunch alone. Bonding time with your smartphone is the best way to spend lunch time.

Avoid helping others as much as possible. What did they do to help you, anyway?

Avoid old-fashioned phrases like “good morning”, “please”, “thank you”.

Avoid old-fashioned gestures like holding open doors.

Don’t bother to remember any co-workers names. You’ll never see them after the internship, anyway.

Reply to emails 3 days after receiving them, never sooner. Your own agenda is much, much more important than any request for help.

Better yet, create an inbox rule to auto-delete all incoming messages. If they contained any information that was actually important, someone will tell you in person, anyway.

Don’t bother to brush your teeth 2-3 days per week. You’re avoiding social situations, remember? Similar for showering and doing laundry, these things are a waste of your time.

Stretch your project out as long as possible. Obviously there are no other projects or problems that need solving.

On the last day of your internship just leave the building as usual without saying anything to anyone you have met. See ya!

What I learned from asking companies for money

I did something unusual as a 3rd year undergraduate computer science student at UCLA. I went to a crowded career fair on campus, and I didn’t give anyone my resume or apply for a internship. I walked around politely introducing myself and asking for money.

My cause was a good one. I needed a few hundred dollars (pocket change to a corporation) to buy dinner for students at a hack-a-thon. The event focused on building software for people with disabilities. An example project was a smartphone app for identifying currency denominations, for people with impaired vision.

My request was met with a wide range of reactions. One person quickly, but not rudely, told me she only has budget for collecting resumes. If I could promise a stack of resumes, she could give me money. I walked away and I later I figured out she was a “recruiter”.

Another person I met represented a semiconductor company. No students were lined up to talk to her. When I approached and gave my pitch I was surprised by her rude answer, delivered in a nasty, sarcastic tone. “Why would I sponsor your event for computer science students? I’m only interested in Electrical Engineering students.” I wonder why no students wanted to talk to her. I will remember this forever and I will never consider working for her company.

A few companies took me seriously, and I formed a relationship with one. That company, Symantec, sent me ~$200 which went towards Inn-N-Out burgers for 2 dozen hungry engineering students. It helped that I knew Jeff, a guy on the inside, and one of the hack-a-thon mentors, who was able to explain the event and convince the manager to support my cause. My relationship with Symantec turned into an internship, then a full-time software QA engineering position, then a supervisor position, and now a manager position. 7 years of contributions, multiple patent filings (2 approved by USPTO!) That’s a huge return on that $200 investment.

What I learned from all of this is:

* First impressions really matter.
* The way you carry yourself in one context reflects how you will carry yourself in other contexts.
* People can smell it when you don’t care about connecting with them, and they will act accordingly.
* Supporting someone’s cause can forge a very strong relationship.
* Who you know can really make a difference for opening doors.
* Don’t be afraid of rejection! Just move on and ask the next.
* Relationships matter, a LOT.
* Even the most trivial business interaction is an opportunity for relationship building.

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