Why You Need to Set the Bar Low on Day One of Your Summer Internship
Mismanaged expectations are the root cause of all life’s aggravations. You expected better than lukewarm meatstuff on an old gritty bun? Next time don’t get lunch at Arby’s. You thought your Facebook status would get more than single-digit likes? Honestly, you disregarded the fact that your unfunny updates about drinking are not status-worthy. You were surprised when she cheated on you? Eh, you overlooked how drunk, bitter, and dick-hungry she gets when she goes out with her friends.
Frankly, learn to always expect the worst and you’ll never be disappointed.
Granted, that maxim does sound a lot more like lyrics to some god-awful song that’s popular among black-clad teenagers actively cutting themselves, but, truly, it’s the cornerstone to avoiding pointless bullshittery at work or at home. Consider that if you can skew others’ perspectives, and get them to expect your worst, you’ll be able to avoid thankless assignments, coerced commitments to community service events, and personal errands before they’re ever requested.
First impressions are critical—it’s here that you set a low, attainable bar for yourself. Never agree to do favors off the bat; it’ll only initiates more requests for unappreciated favors. Don’t worry about hygiene; brushed teeth, combed hair, and non-bloodstained clothes will only set an unrealistic standard that’ll be tough to keep up. And by no means start by using manners either; that way no one’ll be surprised, or even taken aback, when your apparently-unrefined self tells a gross and engrossing yarn about eating a bowl of soup while taking a dump. Don’t try to impress; overachievers are dubbed with that title for a reason. In the office world their reward is little more than increased deadlines, a status as the go-to person for pawning off menial work, and, sometimes, a full-time offer to be the office bitch.
Now today, Day One of the new internship, underperform to your fullest. Exploit bathroom breaks, be ready with excuses, and strive to hit that magic number where you’re doing the smallest amount of work possible to still keep your job. Demonstrate uninhibited incompetence. Ask questions constantly, mostly because it’s obnoxious and it’ll illustrate what a terrible listener you are. Begin to cultivate a signature stench that’s akin to a compost pile on a hot day. Overall, give management a multitude of reasons not to trust you with anything important, publically visible, or mildly complicated.
With the bar for achievement effectively lowered, get ready for an apathetic summer at work full of constantly fucking up the morning coffee and the lunch order. Embody the spirit of the old adage “If you do a job badly enough you won’t get asked to do it again.” By August your boss will be numb to your uselessness and your inept blunders will be forgotten with a quick, “Eh, I guess you did the best you could.”
Don’t work like you were the best candidate for the job; work like you were the least-objectionable candidate for the job. The company’s already sunk money into getting you interviewed and on-boarded; now you can just sit back, relax, and remember that it’s called the bare minimum for a reason.