Internships are beautiful things. You get to meet and interact with people who have already found success in your field, begin to create your own professional network and also learn from people who you aspire to be. But also, you have to stay in your lane. Sure, the CEO is a nice guy, but you definitely don’t want to be telling him about the time you puked up an entire bottle of well tequila whilst going down on your hot RA. You can’t go into your internship expecting to reinvent the wheel. You’re a poorly paid cog in their already established machine. Really, you’re just a replacement cog while the other cogs get a break and are refurbished. So, if you enter an internship, the last thing you want to do is start pissing people off. Which is pretty much exactly what this kid did at his internship when he started a petition to get the company’s dress code amended.
“The anonymous millennial wrote to advice blogger Alison Green for guidance. (I am presuming he is male, based on his specific complaints about the dress code—wearing a suit, for example.) He said that he felt “the dress code was overly strict,” but wasn’t going to complain until his sense of injustice was triggered:
“I noticed one of the workers always wore flat shoes that were made from a fabric other than leather, or running shoes, even though both of these things were contrary to the dress code.
I spoke with my manager about being allowed some leeway under the dress code and was told this was not possible, despite the other person being allowed to do it. I soon found out that many of the other interns felt the same way, and the ones who asked their managers about it were told the same thing as me.”
The intern decided his best course of action was to create a petition requesting a relaxation of the dress code. “It was mostly about the footwear, but we also incorporated a request that we not have to wear suits and/or blazers in favor of a more casual, but still professional dress code,” he wrote. Most of the other interns signed it.
Needless to say, management did not take kindly to the petition. The interns who signed it were called into a meeting and fired en masse. It turned out the worker who had been excused from following the dress code was a veteran who had lost his leg and was permitted to wear whatever footwear was most comfortable.
The fired intern writes that he was “shocked”:
“The proposal was written professionally like examples I have learned about in school, and our arguments were thought out and well-reasoned. We weren’t even given a chance to discuss it.
I have never had a job before (I’ve always focused on school) and I was hoping to gain some experience before I graduate next year. I feel my dismissal was unfair and would like to ask them to reconsider but I’m not sure the best way to go about it. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.””
Stay In Your Lane 101: Don’t Tell Your New Boss You Want To Change His Policies. I’ll put it this way, any kid who has a pretty decent internship and feels that something as minor as being unable to wear running shoes while other people in the office can is an injustice probably grew up thinking that the entire world was his lane. This kid’s been Jersey Sliding all over the map since like the 5th grade. I don’t think this kid fully understands the concept of an internship. You’re essentially a guest in these people’s homes. You wouldn’t walk into a Bed and Breakfast and start telling the owners how to raise their pets. It’s the same shit. Why are you trying to change their policies? You’re there for like 3 months. You’re not a humanitarian trying to bring democracy to the Middle East. You’re an intern doing all the shit no one else wants to do so you can put it on your resume. You should be thanking them for the opportunity so, come graduation, you’re not sitting at home shaving your balls with your mom’s razor because you can’t afford to buy your own, not complaining that they get to wear tennis shoes and you have to wear dress shoes.