One challenge that interns tend to face is that of earning respect from their colleagues at work. It is very easy for an intern to feel as if they are being taken for granted/disrespected. For one, interns are almost always given the lowliest tasks in the office. Furthermore, because the interns are typically younger than the other folks at the workplace, they are sometimes treated as if they are kids. Generally, the other folks at the workplace will tend to have very little patience with the interns. And if there happens to be tasks that are of a repetitive (but uninteresting) nature, they are promptly assigned to the interns… All in all, the interns end up getting the impression that they are being disrespected.
So, against that background, what can an intern do to earn the respect of colleagues at work?
Well, the most important thing is for the intern to always behave in a professional manner. If the intern consistently behaves in a professional manner, others are bound to soon start respecting her. They keyword here is consistency. It won’t help if the intern behaves in a professional manner at times, while losing focus on professionalism at other times.
The intern also needs to learn how to accept his place in the pecking order. She needs to understand that the colleagues she is dealing with probably have better educational and professional credentials than her. They are probably also older. So it would be expected that they would, subconsciously at least, feel better than her. It is therefore important for the intern to respect her colleagues: which would then push them to start respecting her in return.
Further, the intern needs to understand that workplaces are (by default) usually nasty. There are, of course, some exceptions. There are organizations that take some steps to make their working environments less nasty. Take, for instance, CVS Health – and you will find that the training modules on the cvs learnet portal are designed to create a positive workplace. But generally, workplaces tend to have a certain level of toxicity. Therefore, the intern needs to learn how to live with that reality. If she is treated in a less-than-pleasant manner, she shouldn’t take it personally.
Given the typically short duration of internship programs, the intern may not have enough time to get into office politics. But she can nonetheless create allies who would side with her (or at least allies who would show her how to navigate the often-toxic office environment) in the short duration that she would be there.