We recently asked members of BuzzFeed Community to divulge the absolute worst things they experienced while interning. Here are some of their real-life horror stories:
I was working for a production company and I was on a shoot for an exercise video. Four incredibly fit Germans were exercising in front of the cameras in our studio. In between takes, I had to clean up their sweat off the floor on my hands and knees with only paper towels at my disposal.
I interned for a small PR agency while I was completing my master's. There was no parking, so I rode my bike to the office every day. One day, they asked me to go grocery shopping for them and when I got back, they had left the office and locked me out with all of their groceries.
I worked at a radio station when I was in college in San Diego, and the DJ I was working with had me get her coffee every day, specifically with one teaspoon of cream and two sugar packets. She fired me over not finding a second sugar packet when there was only one packet left to be found in the entire office.
I got locked in the back entrance of a vinyl record warehouse on the first day of an internship. I was pretty much the last one to leave the office and couldn't get ahold of anyone since everyone left already. I was yelling and banging on the industrial-size doors of the 5-by-8 room that I got locked in for about 2.5 hours. My phone was dead. Thankfully I was able to communicate to a girl through an eyehole of the door who called the fire department. They straight up sawed off the locks on the door to get me out!
I was studying at uni when they asked for interns to work on a popular reality show. I had to hang from a rusty bar wearing a Bunnings poncho while producers pegged shaving cream pies at me. I remember thinking what I could tell my dad when he asked how it went. Lies. I would tell him lies.
My first day at my internship at an NYC shoe company they had me put together Target shelving units for the bathroom and install them. I spent the remainder of the day scraping some weird sticky substance off of the wall. I, of course, got no thank-you for any of this.
I had an internship at this music venue. It taught me a lot of what I didn't want to do in the music industry. One of my duties was to change the letters on their marquee. Well, one night, I was forced to do it outside in negative degree weather! The letters were literally stuck to the sign, so much so that I had to use a letter opener to chisel them off the sign. I also had to hop on and off the ladder every 15 minutes to come inside so I wouldn't get dangerously cold. My fingers were stinging and I was mad. Oh and on top of that, I had to do this while my favourite football team was playing a playoff game.
I had an internship at a London hairdressers when I was 16. I had to work 9am till the owner told me I could leave which was usually 9 or 10pm. I was allowed one 5-minute break in the morning and one 30-minute break at midday and that was it. They never trained me in anything, all I did was wash hair and towels (which I learned in college).I wasn't allowed sit down unless it was on my break or lunch... the girls in the salon were bitches, the owner was too. The final straw was when the owner asked me to clean all the skirting boards and tiles in the salon with a toothbrush. I told him to stick the toothbrush up his hole and left.
I listened to my boss complain about his son working an unpaid internship – exactly what I was doing for him. Oh, and he often wouldn't come in without telling me. There were only three of us and he would tell the other guy so I'd show up to an empty locked office.
My boss was a small, pregnant Chinese woman. I was a size 6. She would only take pictures next to me "to make her look smaller."
I was part of a group of interns that this guy hired for his startup company which was located at his "home office". The seven of us would usually huddle up on our computers at this dining table, working on graphic design stuff, but on this particular afternoon he brought a "friend" into his condo to "help clean up his room" and stayed there for a while. On another occasion, he invited her to swim with him and took her again to his room for about half an hour or so. It felt pretty awkward for all of us since we couldn't help to think that that "friend" was probably some kind of escort. INAPPROPRIATE MUCH?
I had to try to market and sell books from an amateur horror novelist. I wish I could accurately explain how bad these books were, but one thing really stands out – one of his main characters was creepily similar to his son and he wrote him into some fairly inappropriate scenes. In fact, he seemed to struggle to write anything that wasn't weirdly sexual, and rape appeared somewhere in every story. I couldn't give it away for free. When I told my boss that I was uncomfortable with selling what was effectively rape porn, she told me cheerfully, "You don't have to like it, you just have to sell it!"
I was an unpaid fundraising intern for a very well-known nonprofit. I found out they do inhumane and illegal animal testing. When I was given the script to read if "reporters call" I quit. I kept the script (oops) and walked out. They then reported to my professor I slept all day under my desk (what?!) and cussed out the director. Thankfully I had straight A's and my professor knew better, plus I saved the script to show her. She was happy I stuck with my morals and let me find another program. I still to this day lecture people when they say they donate to that nonprofit!
Once had to go swimsuit shopping with a vice president while on a work trip to California because she wanted to get some pool time in on our afternoon off. I literally had to sit inside the dressing room as she asked me for advice on which swimsuits looked better.
I interned for the local electric company as part of their high school program. Apart from being called "the intern" rather than my actual name, for eight hours a day I would do nothing but alphabetise and file thousands of papers in all the employee files.Once I would finish that giant stack I would go to my "mentor" and without a word she would just hand me another few thousand papers to file... filing that many papers over the course of a few months changes you.
I had an internship at my brother's company in Tokyo and stayed in his apartment with him and his family for the time. My bedroom was also his and my office. I had to sit on the side of his desk on a plastic camp chair with no space to put my feet which wasn't the best experience for my back (especially since I also slept on a really cheap Japanese futon (not a futon bed).When I tattled around with my sis-in-law about work (which was a fun conversation, not a real complaint, just like, "Oh my, I'd love to talk to you for longer but unfortunately I have to get back to work!") he got really angry and told me how freaking grateful I should be for my work and general situation here. He then forwarded me links to articles about illegal child workers in factories in Thailand and actually compared that with my situation (I repeat, my brother compared me to illegal factory child labourers during my internship at his place).