Intern’s naive post bad news for ad agency, worse for her

July 2, 2009

Jenavi Kasper has no fear of being hired by me. Not after what she did to a Phoenix advertising agency who offered her an unpaid internship. For their trouble (and it can be a lot of trouble) they got slammed hard in a blog post.

I’ve had a number of interns in my years of owning a marketing and PR firm–many have been excellent and some of my best employees started as interns. Some have been ridiculous–like Jenavi who seem to think that four years of college makes them an instant expert and who have no idea that the work of an ad agency includes reading numbers off a spreadsheet. No doubt there were menial tasks to be done and these quite naturally fall to the intern. Does she think the lead Account Manager who is bringing in the billings ought to be doing basic office organizations tasks instead of her exalted self?

But her naivete and arrogance are not why I would not hire her, well, not the main reason. Anyone who would bite so hard the hand that feeds them deserves to find that there are no more hands offering food. Her naivete is not so much in failing to understand the role of an intern and missing out on the opportunities she had to learn some things there, her real naivete is in understanding how damaging her nastiness will be to her in future hiring. If I was her I’d try to get that blog post gone as soon as possible, because any future employer is going to Google her and find out about this. Even if the post is gone now, they might come across this (and I’m guessing a few more like it) and maybe think twice. I’m not trying to harm her employment chances in any way, but I hope this gets passed to a few marketing or PR students signing up for internships and I hope they learn from this and not repeat her mistake.

More important for crisisblogger readers is this as another example of the risks of employees and interns and social media. If Jenavi’s naivete wasn’t so obvious, a vicious message from an unhappy intern could blossom into a major reputation issue. Hopefully, if you get attacked by an employee or intern, they will hurt themselves more than you as Jenavi did.


6 Responses to “Intern’s naive post bad news for ad agency, worse for her”

  1. Many are the interns that bring very little to the internship! But then many are the managers/supervisior who bring little to their position also. Who knows what the future will bring. No question interns require some managerial skill and expertise to supervise and provide a fruitful experience. What might help is if the manager/supervisior explains their vision of the relationship at the go-in and how they see their vision of what can or might get accomplished during the internship and then of course asking the intern to analyze that vision and see if it fits what he/she has in mind for the internship. It is a negotiation despite what might be the obvious differential in the power relationships. If the manager/supervisor sees the role of intern as just someone to do scut work why bother when someone with less education and ambition can probably be obtained. I always viewed the intern as a potential permanent recruit and tried to fashion assignments that let me know not just what knowledge they had but what judgment. Every employee I supervised almost without exception went on to be far more successful managerially, legal competency, and have better judgement than I did in my career. I saw this as my biggest contribution to the organizations for which I worked and success. Others might view it differently. In one case I trained and supervised my next boss. We are still good friends but stopped working together over a decade ago when we both retired from our principal careers. My question is “how would you react to a first job of reviewing statistics if not informed in advance very clearly that is what you would be doing? I passed two college semesters of statistics but really believe in the lies, damned lies and statistics aphorism.

  2. […] I hope this girl knows she’ll never get a job now. She’s a crisis communications risk that any business would be stupid to take. Just ask Crisisblogger. […]

  3. Environmental communicator Says:

    I think you were a little harsh. I was a 40+ year old p.r. intern–and have since hired interns in p.r. and previously hired interns in my last career. When we hire interns and pay them nothing or next to nothing, there is an explicit trade-off (not implicit–there are actual labor laws involved) that they will be learning instead of earning. Otherwise, we are simply exploiting cheap labor. Now, some interns disappoint–but then they should be terminated, and not sent to clean out offices. I owe my new career to an internship, and my college-aged son has gotten extraordinary hands-on experience through an internship he started in as a 15 year old. I imagine that this particular intern might have suffered from the narcissistic self-involved attitude I have seen in many interns at our agency. After all, the agency obviously tried to get her involved when they sent her to a photo shoot, and there were probably other opportunities as well. Bbut it sounds a little like the management here is not exactly blameless, either.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    As a recent college grad myself, I do have some agreements with her blog post. Employers don’t seem to understand that putting their name on our resume does not simply land us a job – once we’re in that interview and the potential employer asks what we DID at our internship it can be hard to come up with some note-worthy response. BUT at the same time, I do think she missed the very valid point that your internship is what you make it. I guess she is one of the very many interns that doesn’t understand that if you want to do something COOL at your internship you have to step up and start doing it yourself and SHOW those that you are interning for that you are actually worth something more than cleaning out an office. Plus, with any entry level job or just some jobs in general comes basic office administration work like moving binders or doing files. So… if she ever DOES get hired now, I think she’s in for a very big reality check when they ask her on the first day to file some papers…

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