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The 5 Things Interns Should Never Even Think About Saying

By Kelsey Mulvey

Interning comes with a strict code of conduct. You have to be on time, act professionally, and do a bunch of unglamorous tasks — all with a smile on your face. As much as we want you to socialize and network with all the editors you meet, there are some things you should never, ever say to your supervisors. Below, several writers and editors open up about the worst things they’ve ever heard an intern say.

1. “OMG I am SO hungover” 

“Before I joined my team, there was an intern who apparently emailed our director to say he was too hungover to go to work that day. First of all, you shouldn’t be turning up on a work night. But even if you choose to and things go awry, don’t say you’re hungover! This intern probably thought he was being ‘real,’ but it just comes across as immature and irresponsible. TMI!” – commerce reporter at a business publication

2. “I’m going on vacation…tomorrow”

“An intern once emailed me that she was going to Florida for spring break for a week. She gave me 12 hours notice. That definitely wasn’t cool. I would’ve appreciated a heads up!” – assistant editor of teen website

3. “No”

“I’ve always appreciated an intern with a can-do attitude. Interning isn’t glamorous — we’ve all had to fetch coffee and do menial tasks we’d rather not for the greater good. You should never blindly agree to doing something immoral or illegal, but don’t say no to fetching coffee. You might be busy, it might be a scorcher outside but it tells your bosses you’re too go for said task.” – lifestyle editor

4. “I’m really busy right now”

“My editor asked me if I could delegate a task to our team’s intern. When I relayed the message to my intern, she snapped back, ‘I’m really busy right now.’ Eye-roll. Interns are supposed act as support for the entire team, so what exactly are you doing that makes your time more valuable than the rest of ours?  If you’re actually swamped with work, the best response is to say yes and then ask your supervisor how you should prioritize all your tasks. Your supervisor will like that you’re strategic and a team player.”  – commerce reporter at a business publication

5. “I would, but I have blisters”

“Interning in the fashion closet is not glamorous! You’re packing trunks and schlepping garments bags all around New York City, so comfortable footwear is a must. I was interning in the fashion closet one summer and when we were trying to figure out who’d do the next sample run, one girl said to our supervisor ‘I would, but I have blisters.’ Get a Band-Aid, suck it up, and maybe don’t wear your Valentino shoes to work.” – lifestyle editor

Kelsey Mulvey is a New York-based writer and commerce reporter at Business Insider. She has written for several publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Time Out New York,, Check out more of her work at KelseyMulveyWrites.comand follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

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