Summer Internship with Hyeworth — ‘Sara’ from IBA

Sara won the Editor’s Choice award for Most Hilarious Story — read on to find out why!

Daily winner for: –  27th August 2012

Name of the intern: –  Sara

Institute: – IBA

Organization interned with: – Hyeworth

Editor’s note: — ‘Sara’ chooses not to reveal her name and hence goes by this pseudonym.

While this could serve as a warning to both my current and potential employers, I wish to stay pseudonymous so the former does not know what I’m really capable of, and the latter figures it out it in his own sweet time. I have no desire to make it easy for them.

‘Redefining Stupid’ — By: Employee of the month. Warning: Some content of the article may cause readers to experience severe urges to facepalm themselves. To avoid severe bruising and/or concussions, please do not continue. Other side effect effects include grinning idiotically and flashbacks of foolish incidents.

I wouldn’t define myself as ‘stupid’ but recent events have forced me to question my beliefs, claims of sanity and reconsider the idea of stamping the word across my face. After graduation, I wisely opted to wiggle my toes in faded over-size pink bunny slippers while my fellow graduates strutted around in kitten heels (monkey suits for the boys). I was quite content dreaming the dream rather than living it but the call from the University’s nosy placement office on a lazy Tuesday afternoon was the sound of the first domino falling. My groggy hello answered the question he had called to ask. He could have spared me the dignity and hung up right then but I suppose ‘The University’ wanted to ensure that unemployed-disappointments knew (and verbally admitted) that they were a waste of space. As if this message wasn’t reinforced every day. The nightmare of ending up at school in your underwear was replaced by one where I ended up at the graduation without a job. The defence mechanism kicked in and the CV spammer rose to the occasion. A few companies wrote back annoyed emails, others simply exercised their blocking rights.

Fate, or whatever equivalent we soulless materialists believe in, finally led me to a small cubicle in an even smaller company — as an intern. But that last detail was conveniently left out. My professional ambition in life, okay, maybe just for those 6 weeks was to make it to my desk before my boss, the ‘Drama Queen’ made her entrance which was mostly around noon. I managed to do so the entire first week but with time, the task became harder, and the snooze button easier. The 5 minute drive to work was then spent engaged in intense prayer and promises that were forgotten at the sight of her empty parking spot. I tried. Caffeine, hidden alarm clocks, a screaming mother. All failed and all I was left with were new definitions and degrees of stupid.

Smart: What you think of yourself as you crawl back in to bed at 7 am after gulping down a big mug of coffee/tea convinced that the caffeine will work its magic and effortlessly drag you out of bed fifteen minutes later. (See Clever)

Smart-ass: What you realize you really are when the caffeine finally kicks in at eleven am(also see Super late).

Just plain stupid: Dozing off while waiting for your wake up beverage to cool down a bit (See reflection in mirror).

Before you throw a dictionary in my face, admit that it was a good idea. However, HR seemed to have a better one. They installed a face recognition attendance system which not only told me I was late but also captured how horrible I looked every morning. Hoping to gain some sympathy from my own mother, I whined about cruel labour laws, the 9-5 timings, and the harsh no-lazy boy working conditions emphasizing on the FRD (Freaking Retarded Device aka Face Recognition Device). Things didn’t go exactly as planned. My mother’s sympathy was restricted. Her sense of humour –not so much. “Just be careful, sweetheart,” she chuckled. “If you actually show up at work with your face washed and hair brushed, it might refuse to let you in. “

I learnt a couple of other things over the span of the next 6 weeks — apart from the fact that my mother had been right. The guard had to let me in that day but not before I insisted I worked here and managed to pull out a crumpled business card. Other skills included implementing Dilbert’s look-busy expertise, tab-switching skills that could put a Ninja to shame, and all current food deals based on distance, mood and budget. Other key learning included

  • ‘I got bored’ doesn’t justify taking a nap at conference table.
  • The ‘B’ in BM clearly did not stand for ‘Brands.’

I soon realized that my corporate future and my boss’s sanity hung by a loose thread that was endangered by my new found blondness. It wasn’t permanent but these blonde moments did seem to escalate in to ‘prolonged periods of limited brain activity’ and had an inverse relationship with caffeine levels. My first mistake was forgiveable. The second almost cost the company a client. The third, my dignity — or whatever was left of it anyway. And since I was determined to prove my lack of common sense, the fourth cost my job. Well almost. She still doesn’t know about it and I wish to keep it that way. So strike one may have been setting up a meeting in the wrong city. Clueless Co-worker, who happened to be equally dumb, should be partially blamed for this one. Here’s how the conversation went:

Client: “So we’ll see you at ten?”

Really-smart me *patting myself for my quick thinking*: “Yes. We’ll be there. You’ll be at the I.I. Chundrigar branch?”

Client: “No. Gulberg. You’ve seen Pizza hut next to the Chowrangi.?”

Not-So-Smart-Anymore-Me *slightly confused but having blind faith in Google Maps and co-worker’s knowledge*: “Yes, yes. Of course, I have”

Client: “Great, It’s the grey building tenth floor.”

Me: “Well see you in half an hour.”

So I turn around to Clueless Co-worker and ask him if he knows where Gulberg is to which he replied, “That’s really far. We should leave right now if we want to be there on time.” (In retrospect his answers make me feel like the smart one and do function as an ego-booster.)

Annoyed-smart Me: “Yes, but do you know where it is?

Clueless Co-worker: “Even further away from Nazimabad…we should Google it.”

Our insane Google skills told us that ‘Gulberg’ was in a completely different city. Now he had two problems to tackle (Co-worker graciously decided to take one for the team. And I may have used a little blackmail at some point but that’s not relevant right now). It was effective damage control and it saved me another trip through the portal.

Strike two taught me the importance of caffeine on a Monday morning, and practicing ‘This is Sara* calling from The Company**’ before calling up potential clients. Messing up the order (The Company calling from Sara) and muffled giggles doesn’t exactly sell it. I did what seemed to be the most reasonable thing at the time. I hung up. Fortunately, when the forty something client called back to enquire, it wasn’t my boss but another superior he got through to. I spent the rest of the day in search of a paper bag and then resorted to hiding behind the junk that had piled up on my desk. With the probation period coming to an end, I was due for a review. Turned out, I didn’t need a competitive back-stabbing co-worker to prove I wasn’t fit for the job, I was taking care of that myself. I tried to point out that I had single-handedly managed what was clearly a two-person job but they wouldn’t listen.

But by far the worst incident was running in to college professor I admired and looked up to and who after that meeting thought that I was the biggest and (to a good degree the worst) liar in the world. That or I truly made him question the quality of graduates his school was producing. I introduced myself and told him I was a graduate of his school – the only smart thing I said throughout our conversation. Then as any Professor would, he asked if I was working somewhere. I managed to choke an inaudible yes. The next question was simple and yet my star-struck brain was determined to embarrass me couldn’t recall ‘The Company’ I had been working at for the past 6 months. For a full 30 seconds, I just silently stared at him while my grey cells struggled to locate this precious piece of information. And then I said the dumbest thing ever. “Err…’s at the back of my mind somewhere.” He smiled an awkward smile and took a step forward while I mentally smacked myself. With a boot. The paper bag is yet to come off. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go tell the finance department to transfer my next paycheck directly to my therapist’s account.

*Sara is not my real name. Go ahead. Google it. Even if this comes up, there’s plausible deniability.

Was this interesting? If yes, please like the post on Facebook (below) and help Sara become winner of the week and win the prize (Rs. 1,000/-) that she truly deserves!


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