updates: the terrible attitude, the lack of real world experience, and more

It’s a special “where are you now?” season at Ask a Manager, where all month I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past. Here are five updates from past letter-writers.

1. Should I re-hire an employee with a terrible attitude?

I didn’t hire the guy, in the end. Partly due to your advice – I think I knew at a gut level that it was the right decision, but it was super helpful to have you validate that given that I was feeling a lot of pressure from my colleagues and starting to question my judgment. And, not hiring him turned out fine. My team and I were able to figure out the issues without his help, and there were no material continuity problems, despite all the dark threats about him being the only person who knew where the bodies were buried.

Interestingly, I ended up leaving that job only a year later – the situation with my colleagues made me realize that despite the fact that I’m highly experienced in my field and have a fantastic track record, the place was really a boys club (I’m female) and I was constantly fighting being ignored, have the quality of my work and my professional judgment questioned, etc in a way that made it really hard to be successful or effective. I think at first I hoped that it was just a matter of “proving” myself by working hard and getting results, but over time it became pretty obvious that it was less about proving myself and more about not being welcome.

2. Am I sabotaging my former intern’s job prospects?

It’s been three years since I wrote in to AAM, and I thought I’d give an update on what’s happened since. When I wrote in, I was thoroughly freaked out that two of my managers had asked me about my former intern within a short time frame. I had never had my opinion and judgements carry so much weight before!

As some commenters guessed, I am in the nonprofit industry, where unpaid internships and copious volunteer work is the rule rather than the exception. Unfortunately, there was no way to bring on any other staff members, especially when at each board meeting I had to hear about how much my (part time, 2 day a week) salary was costing the organization.

In the years since, I’ve moved into a leadership role at a new organization, and I now have my first direct report! I took all the lessons I learned from managing interns and volunteers, and I’ve managed to draw firm boundaries that keep me warm and friendly, without blurring any lines. I’ve also been put in control of our volunteer department, and I’ve made it my mission to change the way the organization utilizes volunteers, by creating projects that are at an appropriate level and don’t attempt to cut down staffing costs by getting volunteers to do the same work for free.

As for my former intern, she did add me on Linkedin about a year ago. I haven’t had any contact with her, but from what I gather she is in an entirely new industry across the country. While I’m sad she didn’t end up staying in our shared industry, I hope she is doing well, and has found happiness on her new path.

3. When’s the right time to ask about a permanent work-from-home schedule? (#5 at the link) (first update here)

I’ve been at my so-far fully remote position for almost five months now and I love it. We’re tentatively heading back to the office in July, but everyone will be some sort of hybrid schedule (TBD) and I may even end up working from home more than I negotiated at the beginning. I’m still really glad that I made sure to negotiate upfront. Even if I hadn’t, because of how our work has shifted, we’re all going to have some WFH flexibility– but it’s been a constant discussion of what that looks like for most over the past few months. Because I negotiated, I was never in doubt of whether I’d get to be home the minimum amount that I wanted. Now I’m just waiting to see if I’ll be working from home 3 days instead of 2!

4. My interviewer said I lacked real world work experience

I wanted to provide an update after two months of working. First off, thank you everyone for responding, and thank you Alison for your words. I have since learned that for both of my interviewers at the time, this was really their first hiring experience, which actually explains quite well some of what I felt were awkward question formats and the poor wording of the original question my post was about. Plus, I would like to clarify that both of my interviewers have been working since they were in their teens, so I can understand how someone like me can be considered a newbie in the work world.

Overall though, everything’s been a learning experience and enjoyable, for the most part. Despite the conversations in my original post about the differences between real world and school experience, I have not found much of a difference yet, but I’ve discovered many of my habits and processes I’ve developed in/through my schooling years transfers well. Its been a whirlwind though. I can’t believe two months have already passed since I was hired!

If anything, having to readjust to sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day is my biggest struggle! If anyone has tips, tricks, or products they use to help with posture and the health of my butt and spine, please advise!

5. My manager told me I don’t seem passionate about my work anymore (#4 at the link) (first update here)

One more update to close this out — my bonus amount came out even higher than the starting percentage, I’m up for an internal promotion, and my last performance review was great. All is well over here!

{ 68 comments… read them below }

  1. mcfizzle*

    I love, love, LOVE the updates! I keep finding myself wanting to comment “please update us at some point on (x)” all the time now.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Me too! That said, today is the last official day of updates month (since it’s the last day of June) … although I still have a backlog of them to publish so you’ll still be getting them, just not every single day anymore. (Although this was an amazing break for me so now my dream is to get enough updates that I can always do some every day.)

      1. allathian*

        I love the updates seasons too! And I definitely wouldn’t object to getting a post of updates every day or every other day.

    2. Elizabeth West*

      Me too; it’s very satisfying to have new info, even if the update isn’t always a positive one.

  2. Sneaky Ninja for this one*

    #4 – make sure your chair is adjusted right. Seriously, it’s a life changer. Also, get a short footstool to put your feet up on, just a couple inches high. It will take some of the pressure off your back. When you get up, if people won’t look at you odd, put your palms flat on your desk and step back, and bend over into sort of an L shape. It’s a good stretch for shoulders, back, and hamstrings. If people will look at you silly, then do it against the bathroom wall when you’re in there. Also a quick quadricepts stretch, they get tight from sitting all day too. A couple times a week, probably in private, lay on your back, and push your fingers in and down along your hipbone. It may hurt a bit, but it loosens up that muscle. It ties your back and hip together and you’ll feel so much better in your back. Or, lay face down on the floor with a tennis or lacrosse ball in that spot. That will hurt, but will feel good when you’re done.

    Also, make sure your keyboard and monitors are at the right height. If you are on a laptop, you’ll probably want it higher so you can see, and then a separate keyboard that’s a bit lower so your shoulders aren’t all scrunched up all day or your neck hanging down all day.

    1. mcfizzle*

      Depending on the size of the company, they may have a “wellness” or “ergonomic” specialist on hand (note: this is just a small portion of her job). Where I am employed, I can request this person spend some time in my workspace to help figure out what height / space everything should be at. It was so helpful.

    2. Damn it, Hardison!*

      I’ve found that attaching a lumbar cushion (bought on Amazon) has been helpful in encouraging better posture (I’m a slumper by nature).

      1. HardlyLovelace*

        You can improvise a lumbar cushion by putting plastic filler (the bigger, pillowy one with air inside) inside a dark, neutral-colored pillowcase and folding it, if you want to save 80$.

      2. Anon, my colleagues will recognize*

        I have three: one at home, one in my car, and one at work.

        Plus an awesome back brace that has Velcro-in ice pads (I keep two pads in the freezer). Ortho8 brand — I got it thru my physical therapy provider, it was covered by insurance. Life changing. Might be available online?

        If you don’t need physical therapy, walking (my pain doc says Motion is Lotion), gentle yoga or tai chi or any practice that involves flexibility/balance/strength/focus, some sort of exercise that involves your whole body in strength and flexibility— I go rock climbing twice a week at a climbing gym. I use the elliptical trainer at the rock gym, go dancing …

        1. Anon, my colleagues will recognize*

          Also just to agree with other posters: learn how to stand up, reach down, lie down, and get up from lying down in ways that protect your back — I’m too old to care if people think it looks weird and I am determined NOT to end up back in the hospital and on a giant list of drugs. I never did this when I was younger and I sure was sorry I hadn’t last year when I sat hours in end in front of screens for work…

          Don’t be me. Take care of your back now.

    3. Happy Lurker*

      I try to drink a lot of water, which means I use the restroom a lot. I try to do 10-20 squats every time I enter the restroom. It takes a couple seconds and helps my muscles feel better.

      1. AnonymousPenguin*

        Ooo, I especially love this idea because I drink a lot of water too. Way to make use of the biffy breaks!

    4. That's Just My Face*

      Also be sure to sit on your sit bones instead of your tail bone. You know how we tell kids who sit on our laps that they have a bony butt? Those are the sit bones; we just feel them more on kids because they’re so much leaner than we are. Once I starting sitting on my actual sit bones, everything about chair life got so much better!!

    5. It's All Elementary*

      Standing desk! I have a co-worker who swears by it. She can lower it when she wants to sit or raise it when she wants to stand. She’s moving into a new job and had ordered another for that position.

      1. Jack Russell Terrier*

        Check out chair yoga – it’s now being called ‘desk yoga’. You can open up and stretch and build strength in short bursts throughout the day. I teach chair yoga and it’s surprisingly helpful.

  3. Batty Twerp*

    Hi #4 – you shouldn’t really be sitting for a full 8 hours a day!
    Ideally you should be able to get up and move about every hour – go get a glass of water (and then get up again to go to the loo if you’re anything like me!). Doesn’t have to be much, or overly disruptive, but it’s better for your circulation if you can at least stretch – there are also chair exercises you can do for your upper body (just make sure your feet are firmly placed on the floor and if you do any bending, don’t do it on a chair with wheels – please don’t ask me how I know this!)

    And lastly, even if you can’t physically get up and move, make sure you’re not staring at a screen constantly. Follow the 20:20:20 rule – every 20 minutes look at something at least 20 feet away for about 20 seconds – it makes your eyes refocus. Oh, and ignore the Doctor’s advice – DO blink! We blink less when we look at screens and your eyes can dry out significantly during a work day. Especially if you wear contact lenses.

    Good luck in your not-so-new job!

    1. Pickled Limes*

      I use an app called “Stand Up.” It notifies me every 45 minutes to remind me to stand up and move around. Usually, I’ll do a quick loop around the building, get a drink, use the bathroom if I need to, and go back to work.

      Also, if your desk chair isn’t well cushioned, try looking for a gel based seat cushion. The one I used was designed for long haul truckers (I cut the tag off so I don’t remember the brand, unfortunately), and it really does help!

      1. OP #4*

        Ooo, I like the app idea. Time just pass by so quick that sometimes I forget to give myself breaks. Or next thing I know, I’ve been sitting for all morning or afternoon!

        1. SarahKay*

          I have two alarms set on my phone, one for mid-morning and one for mid-afternoon, to remind me to go and run up and down the stairs. WFH, I just don’t move about as much as I did in the office, hence the alarms.
          Also, you may find some of it is just needing to adjust. When I started working in retail I’d get home with sore tired feet for the first couple of weeks. Then I changed from retail to office work and at the end of the first week I came home and complained to my then-partner “Everything aches! My butt aches, my elbows ache, my wrists ache, my thighs ache. The only things that don’t ache are my feet! How do people do this?!?” Over the next few weeks my body gradually got used to lots of sitting rather than standing and the aches went away.

        2. Astor*

          If you can afford one, an activity tracker is also really discreet for this. You won’t get as many options, but it means that my wristband buzzes instead of my phone.

          On a Fitbit, for example, it’s called “Reminders to Move”. It tracks how many steps you take from :00 to :59. You set which hours you want reminders for (so, waking hours or working hours) and then every hour at :50 it checks to see if you’ve hit 250 steps (possibly you can set the goal on newer devices). If you haven’t hit 250 steps, it will give you a little buzz.

          When I was in the office, I also set alarms on my Fitbit that went off mid-morning, for lunchtime, and mid-afternoon, to make sure I really really did take a break.

      2. Batty Twerp*

        Oh, yes, automated reminders. I’m WFH still, so I get my Google mini to remind me to get up several times a day (I think it’s an assistant routine). Can be a bit embarrassing when she tells me “It’s time for lunch. Let’s take a walk in the fresh air and move that butt!” when I’m in a call with my manager, but my manager tends to appreciate the prompt too.

      3. andromeda*

        Definitely a cushion. When COVID made it clear that my at-home office chair was not my butt’s friend, but I realized good office chairs are like $1000, I asked a massage therapist friend for recommendations, and she said get this: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KXFGGHF

        $30 instead of $1000, and now my butt doesn’t hurt any more.

  4. middle name danger*

    #4 – Get a standing desk. The vast majority adjust so you can pull it up or down to stand or sit. If you can’t get one, look into even just a stand for your computer to allow you to stand sometimes. And take frequent breaks, even just for a 30 second walk. Go get water. (Go deal with the consequences of drinking water all day.)

    I also keep things at my desk to fidget with – mostly to occupy my hands (I have ADHD) but I find that when I have that, I remind myself to move the rest of my body too.

    1. Box of Kittens*

      Yes to the standing desk! I asked for one when I moved offices last week and it’s been amazing.

      1. AnonymousPenguin*

        I got a standing desk last year and absolutely love it! Though sometimes I feel guilty when I sit…

    2. PersephoneUnderground*

      My favorite thing about sit/stand desks is that they adjust *down* too. My current sit/stand desk marks the first time in my life my desk has been short enough for me, even with my chair jacked up to its max height. If you can’t get something like that and are short like me I recommend a keyboard tray.

      The overall idea is to have your elbows at no less than a 90 degree angle when typing or using the mouse, and your monitor top at about eye level. Adjust everything else to achieve that.

    3. OP #4*

      Thankfully, I have a standing desk and I do utilize it at certain times, but sometimes I can’t stand for long periods because then my feet hurt. But the ability to go back and forth is much better than nothing!

      1. Carol the happy elf*

        If you use a “Standy Desk”, get yourself an inexpensive step stool, (mine is Rubbermaid, it’s gray, about $10-15), and switch your legs out, propping one and then the other. This takes pressure off your lower spine. It will fit under the desk, and if you’re sitting, prop your feet on it for awhile.
        I also use a barstool with my standy desk; it gives my bum a place to rest switching legs.
        The most important thing, though, is to get the right footwear. Correct arch support, size, width, and ramp. Best if you have an appointment with a podiatrist, every 5 years, every 15 lbs- that’a gained or lost!, every pregnancy, or new sports regimen.
        My friend is a podiatrist. My feet live in blissful, workable comfort.

      2. Astor*

        If you haven’t already, get a standing pad / anti-fatigue mat! They make a HUGE difference for your feet and lower back., and anywhere else you might aggravate while standing. I’ve only ever used the gel/foam kind that make the floor softer (my one at my desk is actually just a different pattern of the one I bought for my kitchen sink), but I’ll add a link on reply for a roundup I found that describes a bunch of different types.

  5. Annie J*

    I really hate the not enough real world experience argument for not hiring someone, it’s such a Catch-22.
    you don’t get hired because you don’t have enough real world experience, yet in order to get that experience you need to be hired in the first place.

    1. JRR*

      I think ridged ideas about how much “real world” experience is necessary come from people not being able to imagine others having a different life from their own.

      I didn’t get my first job until I was 19, which I’m a little embarrassed about because so many people think it’s a sign of out-of-touch privilege that I didn’t have to work as a teen.

      On the other hand, when I meet some one who started working even older, I confess there’s part of me that thinks the same thing about them.

    2. JM in England*

      Wonder how many people trying to land their first “real world” job have turned this around on the interviewer?

      I certainly did when I was in that position. Framed it as “Wasn’t there once a time when you had no experience and someone gave you a chance?”. Must admit though, this happened during an intensive year-long job search after my graduation in the early 1990s and it came through sheer frustration!

      Needless to say, didn’t get that job but boy did it feel good! :-)

      1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        I got the job because I asked that question. It was like the guy was waiting for me to challenge him.

        (Not that the job actually worked out though – the hours were crazy and I gave up within days of being hired)

    3. Nanani*

      I remember a Care Bears episode about this (Yes I am a child of the 80s why do you ask) – How can I show have enough experience if no one will let me try?
      The people locking Cheer Bear out of the activity she wanted to try were in the wrong.

    4. JM in England*

      If employers are going to continue with this attitude, the work world will be stuffed once all those with experience retire!

  6. RudeRabbit*

    LW #4 – If you can, get either an ergonomic desk that can lift, or you can order an under-desk bike or elliptical for relatively cheap. That has helped me greatly!

    Congrats on your role, and we wish you all the best!

  7. Anastasia Beaverhousen*

    #4 – Make sure there is lumbar support in your chair. Also to make sure you have neck alignment sit at your desk so that you can type with your shoulders square (not arms raised) and raise your monitor so that you are looking straight and not down. Put the monitors on books if you need to.

  8. Pants*

    #4 and any WFHer: If you can afford to buy a standing desk, I highly highly highly recommend this sitting/standing desk. Mine was just under $300. It’s electric with programmable settings for the height. The hanging footrest doodad is fantastic for short people like me. I’m in my first WFH situation and have not regretted this purchase for one nanosecond.

    1. Carol the happy elf*

      This! I had a new knee, so my physical therapist gave me the right measurements for height and distance for every single piece of office equipment and furniture. I don’t get a stiff neck or shoulders now, and when my stuff needed to be moved for carpet steaming, I was able to replicate measurements exactly. The phys therapist also recommended a simple padded barstool, and I can use that as a resting spot, so the standing gets broken up, but is still a standing position.

    2. PurplePeopleEater*

      They are probably harder to find now, but we were able to get our standing desk off Cragislist. Since they are so heavy, I think the owners didn’t want to move it a long distance. It’s worth checking your local sites just in case!

  9. Mobius 1*

    Clicking through to the original post for letter 3 has me absolutely slavering for an update from the guy annoyed no one will call him Lord

  10. EPLawyer*

    #1 — so glad you went with your gut. Joe would have been a nightmare. Of course things went fine without him. They usually do no matter what the hoarders of knowledge think. Unless its the secret formula for Coke, nobody is doing anything that can’t be figured out by a reasonably competent person doing the same job. No one is irreplaceable. People leave jobs all the time and the businesses survive.

    Be very wary of anyone who claims the place would fall apart without them.

  11. Retired(but not really)*

    One helpful routine that a massage therapist friend of mine recommended was to periodically roll your shoulders backwards and forwards. Amazing what kinks that can loosen up.

  12. Lizcase*

    #4: I went from having an adjustable (sit/stand) desk to a fixed desk and it did a number on my back. My company brought in someone to do an ergonomic assessment of my workstation. She made a lot of what seemed like very minor modifications – height of monitor, height of chair, depth of chair, keyboard tray – which made a world of difference. If this is an option I highly recommend it.
    Other things that helped for me: walk around for a minute or two every half hour; do some stretches a couple times a day – especially your neck and butt; get a massage regularly.

  13. latticedfence*

    #2, I’m really happy for you that you have an exciting new job, and that you are weaning your new employer off the idea of using volunteers as slave labour who should actually be paid employees. I have a long background in both non-profit and private companies that have a nasty habit of this, and that attitude never fails to infuriate me.

    I’m also really glad that your former intern seems to be doing well, because I have to admit, I did really feel for her. As is common in two of the big industries I’ve worked in, I did a lot of unpaid internships, which I really couldn’t financially afford to do, but I had to in order to get ahead. I never behaved in the way your intern did, but I was certainly very resentful of being taken advantage of, and hard-won experience tells me that there was probably a lot more going on in the intern’s life than you ever knew about. I hope that you spoke to the intern several times and tried to help her before you ended her internship.

    (Also, as someone who’s done a lot of recruiting, can people please STOP this “backdoor referencing” nonsense? As if reference checks aren’t usually pointless enough as they are, you further complicate it by putting people not listed as references on the spot, asking them about people they haven’t seen or worked with for years?! Argh!)

    1. FDS*

      I feel for her too. I know it’s not really the LW’s fault. She was asked and obviously couldn’t lie, but what a rough break. It sounds like the intern was young, poorly managed, and given a lot to do without pay. I, too, did unpaid internships when I was young to try to break into museum work and I’ll admit I was salty being asked to do significant labor that greatly benefited the organization for nothing but a prayer of a good recommendation. Internships are supposed to being about learning and growth. It kills me to think that in a small market a bad experience when you are young (and unpaid) could blacklist you. LW you say your sad she changed fields, but what other option did she have?

      1. username-needed*

        I agree so completely with both of you. Really, really good comments.

        It sounds like the intern was young, poorly managed, and given a lot to do without pay. I, too, did unpaid internships…and I’ll admit I was salty being asked to do significant labor that greatly benefited the organization for nothing but a prayer of a good recommendation…It kills me to think that in a small market a bad experience when you are young (and unpaid) could blacklist you. LW you say your sad she changed fields, but what other option did she have?

        THIS. Seriously.

        I did my fair share of unpaid internships, too, including for non-profits that did great work…and had some overpaid upper management who were complete wastes of space and funding. I was so resentful doing the vast bulk of the work on projects which earn the non-profit hundreds of thousands of dollars, all as part of an unpaid internship, while upper management earned six figures a year claiming my work as their own.

        I also knew some interns whose resentment bubbled over into something like what happened to LW’s former intern…but it was also never that simple.

        I knew an intern who fell asleep at work a few times…but it was because he was working a night job to keep himself while he studied at college full time and completed the unpaid internship on his days off. I knew interns who were late for volunteer shifts…but it was because they had to complete paid work to survive, or were caring for ill family members, or had really unreliable public transport.

        But yes, let’s make sure these interns we use and abuse for free are given zero support or assistance, and a terrible reference to boot! All while our own management gets paid too much.


  14. Batgirl*

    OP1’s experiences are so frustratingly familiar to read about. Particularly the limbo stage where you wonder if you’re imagining it and just need time to prove yourself. People wonder why women start to learn how to listen for the subtle clues.

  15. Alternative Person*

    I remember reading OP1’s letter. I’m glad you didn’t hire Joe. It sucks that the people in your workplace were never going to accept you, no matter how hard you worked.

    I hope things have gotten better for you since then.

  16. wanna*

    OP2’s whole dilemma is why I never take on unpaid interns (as it is disgusting and abusive, most of the time, and give an unfair advantage to people from wealthy families) AND why I never ask for, nor give, unauthorized references.

    What an absolutely terrible situation. I’m glad to hear that both OP2 and her former intern both seem to be doing well.

    I recall from the original post that OP2 admitted that she managed the intern and the situation really badly, and that the intern was actually good at her job and very personable. If OP2 were to ever again be asked about the ex-intern, I would focus on that and say nothing beyond that.

    1. LSC*

      My other comment addressing this appears to have been deleted, so I will second your comment and add in that I would strongly advise OP2 to provide any future references based solely on the ex-intern’s performance during the actual internship, which appears to have been very good, and to not mention the post-internship volunteer period, which appears to be where the actual problems occurred.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I don’t think that’s correct; the OP said in the original letter that “she worked slowly, needed a lot of coaching, had little initiative, and there were complaints about finding her asleep or on personal calls.”

        (Also, your other comment is below, not deleted –?)

        1. LSC*

          Apologies, the comment was displaying, then it disappeared, and now seems to have come back. It may have been a temporary glitch.

          The OP noted that she had never managed before, and managed the intern poorly. OP also said “Overall, I thought she was a good intern because she was enthusiastic about entering the field, was personable, and believed in our mission. She did produce good work on the project I gave her during her internship”. This is what any reference OP gives regarding the ex-intern should be.

          But there is no indication that OP made sure to tell the people who were utilising OP as an unauthorised, ‘backdoor’ reference for the intern that the intern performed well during her internship and produced good work. Indeed, it sounds like all that was successfully communicated to these reference seekers was that the ex-intern was not even worthy of an interview.

          Regarding the falling asleep and the personal calls, my first assumption would be that the intern is struggling and/or overworked, and that she has a lot to deal with away from the unpaid internship that the company is benefitting from. It was quite clear that something was wrong here and that it was not properly addressed: there are exceptions but, as a rule, people don’t fall asleep at work just because they feel like having a nap. OP stated that she did not handle this well and that she was “weak” and “remiss” as a manager, and that she “could have done more”.

          The OP is clearly self-aware enough to know that they didn’t handle this well at all, and I commend them for that. I am extremely glad to hear that the OP and the ex-intern both seem to be doing well. The intern certainly did not handle this as well as she could have or should have, but she was also young, poorly managed, and most likely dealing with far bigger issues that impacted her performance. I also suspect that someone in management (who was not the OP) may have left the ex-intern with the impression that paid work was a strong possibility after their internship ended.

          Also, while I don’t believe the OP falls into this at all, I am long past the end of my patience with incompetent or otherwise weak managers who have the hide to turn around and provide bad references for people who never had a real opportunity to perform well in the first place.

  17. LSC*

    LW2, I am glad that both you and your former intern are doing well now.

    However, and I don’t mean to sound unkind, I do think you were unfair to your former intern, although I do acknowledge that you were put on the spot for an unofficial reference by people who should know better.

    Should you ever be asked about this ex-intern again, you need to be honest and state up front that she was excellent during her actual internship (which you indicate she was). The only other detail I would share is that you did not manage her well at all (which you also indicate was the case), but that she was an excellent intern despite this.

    It sounds like any problems with her performance only came about AFTER her internship was over, and she was unhappy that she was unable to be paid (which was NOT your doing, of course) for her work. I do not believe that your ex-intern handled her frustration over not being paid after her internship had ended well at all, but she was also – as you admitted – young and poorly managed. I do not believe this is worthy of her having received poor references from you, especially without the adequate context being provided that she was very good during her actual internship.

    I must also admit that I wonder if someone else at your shared organisation made it appear to the intern that paid work may be on offer at the end of the internship. If this is the case, and I have certainly seen this happen many times, I do not blame her for feeling particularly hard done by.

    Other commenters in the original thread, and above in this thread, speak at length about unpaid internships and volunteer work and the various moral and socioeconomic quandaries involved. We have interns at the non-profit I work with, and they are all paid, including for work that we are legally permitted to not pay them for, due to it being genuine work experience. They are still paid. This is how it should be.

  18. Galgal*

    I’m glad it worked out so well for you, OP1!

    Especially as – in my own experience, anyway – if the genuinely *only* person who knows how a project or product or policy or whatever actually works *isn’t* hired, it usually ends up a complete nightmare, and belated attempts then have to be made to bring that person in. So I’m super glad this difficult dude wasn’t actually that critical to the operation.

    And those boys’ club environments are just awful. I’m so glad you’re away from it.

Comments are closed.