Act 2, Scene 2

Scene: Office space in Portland. Desks are scattered around with Co-Workers in business casual attire at their computers. Center stage is a young 20-something intern sitting at her desk.

Scene opens

Intern is typing contently at her desk. 

She stops typing and looks confused as she clicks the email on her desktop.

Intern: Oh no

The Intern’s confusion turns to horror. She reads the email out-loud.

Intern: “…not only did you spell a word wrong in the subject line, you addressed it to the wrong person…”

She hyperventilates – The scene grows darker as the computer screens cast a sinister light on the Co-Workers’ faces.

Intern: I messed up! My one chance is over!

She looks wildly about as the Co-Workers stare at her.

Intern: And now I’m freaking out! I just broke another intern rule! Interns are always suppose to be composed, but now I’ll seem entitled if I don’t show enough concern!

Co-Workers start chanting softly

Co-Workers: Failure….failure…

Intern: I took initiative; I didn’t want to bother anyone! Isn’t that what interns are suppose to do?! I’ll never get a good recommendation now. Argh! I’m being presumptuous  again.

Co-Workers circle intern and continue chanting. Lights start to flash.

Intern: Noooooo!!!!

Scene goes black.

Scene 3, Act 1

Scene: 15 years later, outside of previous Portland office. Intern is dressed in rags and sits on the street as the Co-Workers walk into the building.

Intern: Job? Job? Spare a Job?

Co-workers ignore the intern and continue to walk by.

Intern: Oh why did I make that mistake?!

Scene falls to black.

End play.

Oh, woah is me!

Oh, woah is me!

Ok, maybe that is a slight dramatization. I made a mistake, but my life didn’t end (even though it felt like it did). We read so many articles about what to do and what not to do as an intern, that paranoia hides around every cubicle. To be clear, the advice we receive is very valuable. Yet, as an intern, it can be easy to, uh, lose touch with reality.

As my coffe mug says: “Keep Calm and Carry On.”


Holly Locke

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10 Responses to Act 2, Scene 2

  1. You must have some background in theater. I was following along the whole time and picturing the scene, totally sucked into the drama haha.

    The message was there too—I am horrified of spelling words wrong in emails so much so that I looked up the correct spelling of “discretion” yesterday…It’s a problem. But, I think that you’re totally right. As interns, we’re naturally insecure because we know how much is riding on this opportunity. You just found a way to paint that picture for us. Great work.

  2. megmarieshea says:

    Don’t apologize for the dramatization, I can be that dramatic in my head. I agree with you and Branden on the idea that interns are naturally insecure. In some ways, I want to try and be some superhero that never makes a mistake. But let’s face it EVERYONE is human, which means that we ALL make mistakes. This doesn’t give the green light to start being careless and unaware about the tasks we do, but rather to remember the world is not going to end. I love the saying, “Keep Calm and Carry on!” Such a great little pick-me-up today. Thanks Holly!

  3. I laughed reading this post, simply because I have been in that mode of panic before. We all make mistakes, even the most respected professionals. I really believe that in situations like these ones, it’s how you recover, and knowing you, I am sure you did! Sometimes I am so worried about following rules and such, that I lose touch with details or what is in front of me. I agree, we need to stay intact with reality. Awesome post, great point and by the way, you should be a playwright! Ha!

  4. littlebrittanyb says:

    This is perfect! One mistake can definitely feel like you’re now doomed, especially if you aren’t the one who catches it. We forget that making mistakes is part of learning. Although I may not always show it, I am certainly familiar with that dramatic sense of panic. I also tend to imagine the worst, like your visions of street life. Insecurity is part of inexperience and as we build experience we can also build our confidence. Everyone makes mistakes, especially interns. Like Meghan said, it isn’t the end of the world. Fantastic post Holly!

  5. Nick Smith says:

    Holly I laughed so hard when I read this! I still think taking initiative is very important, even if the scenario is a possibility. Making mistakes is the way we all learn. Anyone that tells you they haven’t made a mistake is lying to you. I have a fear of making a major mistake, but I refuse to be paralyzed by that fear. Keep calm and grind on.

  6. Summer Luu says:

    Holly, you definitely got my attention with this post and that was the great thing about it. I’m so sorry about the mishap at work but like you said, keep calm and carry on. It’s not the end of the world–people make mistakes all the time (this is the reason why stock prices go up and down all the time haha) but no really, it’s all good. As long as you learn from that mistake and move forward with it and keep the attitude to a 110%, I think you’ll be a great intern still.

  7. andrewsch90 says:

    Wow, that really did sound like an intern’s worst nightmare! Glad it was only an over dramatization. If it makes you feel better, I made a similar mistake a couple weeks ago. When composing an email to a fellow co-worker, I accidentally addressed the email with the wrong name. Once I clicked send and realized my mistake, I thought I had immediately ruined my relationship with this co-worker. Fortunately, she was very sympathetic and realized I was only an intern. The best thing we can do is look at these minor mistakes as learning experiences.

  8. Holly, great post. What really stuck out to me the most is that we are supposed to not ask questions and be calm and composed at all times. I ask a lot of questions, so am I done for? Not at all. I think that there is a fine line between asking enough questions and asking too many. Hopefully I am asking the right questions to limit mistakes.

  9. jackiemc90 says:

    Hahaha I love this one, great post Holly. No matter how small the mistake, it always seems like it’s a huge deal! Especially if you really like your internship and want to impress them. Great job!

  10. Don’t worry! You’ll be ok!

    I remember interning at a place in Eugene and doing a similar thing. I felt like an idiot, but in the end everything was ok. The world didn’t crumble underneath my feet — Im still here! That said, I learned from the experience — as I’m sure you have — and now make sure to double, or ever triple check things before they are sent (if there is time allotted). However, it seems that somehow a word always sneaks past you no matter how hard you try.

    A mistake happened, and mistakes will happen again. Just don’t let them happen too often.

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