What to Wear at Your Internship

I  was at the post office today. An intern, a young woman, no more than twenty, was at the desk assisting a full-time postal worker. You may ask how I knew the young woman was an intern. I knew because she had a plastic name tag that said ‘Intern’ pinned to her sweater. I noticed it. Everyone waiting on the endless post office line noticed it. In fact, we were all talking about her name tag.

It wasn’t the generic moniker, “Intern,” that caught our eye. It was the placement of the name tag. Apparently, the Postmaster General or Deputy Postmaster or the Assistant to the Postmaster General or whoever runs the post office, made the intern clip her blouse shut with the name tag.

Clearly, an uncomfortable moment had transpired, and I imagined the intern was mortified that her clothing choice was rejected and then awkwardly modified. The tag was practically choking the poor girl. I’m guessing this fashion fix was hurriedly accomplished as the “I” was pointed down and the final “n” was titled up toward her shoulder. The man next to me shifted his head to get a better read and then blushed when he realized the purpose of the tag’s placement.

What can I say about dressing for your internship? Here goes. If you feel good about your outfit, change immediately. What you think looks good, probably looks too good. You’re there to represent the company and its products or services. Check out how your co-workers dress, and then dial it back about ten notches.

Millennial ‘Speak’ Strikes Again

If it weren’t for Millennials and their ‘all about me’ conversations, I’d have nothing to post on this blog. Just when I thought I’d run out of millennial material, I had an exchange with a recent college grad that left me scratching my head.



Recently, I offered a small, freelance opportunity on a college job board. The job entailed reading a large document for major content errors. I figured the project would take 7-10 hours and I offered $100 for the project or $15 to $10 an hour depending on reading pace. It’s not a ton of money, but none of the resumes I received showed any expertise in content editing, hence the low rate. None-the-less, I offered the job to a student who, at the least, had some interesting, although unrelated internships.


The student turned the job down which is fine. Not every job is a perfect fit.  It was the wording of their decision that left me speechless.


“A $100 does not seem worthwhile to me. Had I been a fan of yours, I might have reconsidered. It’s up to you to convince me otherwise.”


My first thought was that if I had fans, I wouldn’t be posting a low-paying job on a college job board. Had I been famous, people would be begging me to sweep the floors in my office for free. Here’s the deal. Neither of us are famous, but we have made a connection and that connection is the first step to networking. (Think LinkedIn) Maybe this is not the right job, but in six months another opportunity that pays more, may arise.


If you are lucky enough in this economy to turn down a job offer down, I recommend doing it in a way that leaves the lines of communication open. Hey, you never know. One day, we might both be famous.