Do you feel like a total office outsider on work experience? Imagine how 70-year-old Ben (Robert De Niro) feels in new film The Intern when he joins a trendy online clothing retailer’s ‘senior intern programme’.
Despite being a stranger to Facebook, not knowing who Jay Z is and still using a flip phone, Ben manages to wow his sceptical boss Jules (Anne Hathaway) and get himself noticed in all the right ways. Here’s what we learnt from him about being a great intern…
Dress to impress
You may not have access to Ben’s walk-in wardrobe of fancy suits but making an effort to look smart on your first day is essential. You can always dress down after day one if it turns out the office is a sea of denim.
Don’t leave early
Ben’s rule that you can’t leave before the boss leaves is probably a bit on the OTT side but don’t bunk off before your finish time. Even if you haven’t got much to do, don’t leave early unless you’re specifically told to. People will notice (in a good way) if you arrive before you’re supposed to and don’t race for the door come 5pm.
When Ben overhears boss Jules getting emotional in a meeting, he doesn’t spill the story to the rest of the office. It might be tempting to try to impress your colleagues with insider gossip but this isn’t the best way to make friends as an intern. Getting a reputation for being discreet and trustworthy is far more important than being the go-to for gossip.
The simple stuff isn’t beneath you
Ben gains everyone’s respect just by clearing up a messy desk without being asked. Things like dishing out the post, making tea and organising the archives may not feel like your dream gig but if you do these things with a smile and without calamity, you’re far more likely to be given more interesting opportunities later on.
Being invited to after-work drinks is a great way to get to know the team. You’re unlikely to end up holding back your boss’s hair as they throw up tequila shots (Ben really does go above and beyond) but stay on your guard. Even if the rest of the office is getting rat-arsed, keep your cool. It’s far better to be remembered as a bit reserved than as that intern.
Go to after-work events
You’re unlikely to get the chance to go on a work trip to San Francisco (don’t let Hollywood get your hopes up) but taking the opportunity to go to events outside of office hours is a great way to show your commitment and add something a bit different to your CV.
The Intern is in cinemas today.
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