Yes, photocopying is one of the worst tasks an intern receives. Here are nine others, less conventional maybe, but equally as disrespectful…
1. Working odd hours
Generally, a contract will be signed with the trainee, whether for insurance or for the intern to get university credits. It is important that the work schedule be included. If the work involves irregular hours, the intern should be advised beforehand. In that sense, the manager must respect that agreed upon schedule, and not have the trainee work outside these hours, especially knowing that being at the bottom of the hierarchy, an intern will likely not complain if you make them work too hard.
2. Assigning unknown tasks
Sometimes, interns will be given tasks for which they were not properly trained or do not understand the ins and outs. It is thus the role of the supervisor to ensure that the tasks being assigned are well understood and can be accomplished.
3. Not communicating
In order to gain skills, the intern must receive constructive feedback and encouragement. In this manner, they will improve and that is what will make it a learning experience. Why even bother hiring an intern if you will not communicate with him?
4. Running your personal errands
Walking the dog, feeding the cats during business trips, picking up the little one at school, buying coffee in the morning, grabbing lunch at noon. No, this is not The Devil Wears Prada, but many interns’ day-to-day reality.
5. Filing, archiving or distributing mail
As an archivist intern, these may be reasonable tasks, but for any other type of training, probably not. Understandably, nobody wants to do these chores, but is that really a reason to assign these to the intern?
6. Cleaning the office
The stories of being forced to clean office spaces are more common than we might think. Are they even educational? A question to ask ourselves…
7. The promise of an internship
During interviews, prospect interns often want to know what their duties would consist of if selected. Sometimes the promise is far from reality. Who wants to make photocopies or classify files when one was promised a specific project during the interview?
8. Assigning important tasks at the last minute
An important meeting is being held in a few hours. The presentation is not ready. So why not just ask the trainee to complete it and print it for all those attending? It is pretty dangerous to give an intern who may not be ready a task of this magnitude at the last minute. The risk of errors caused by intense stress is very high.
9. Doing the dishes or cleaning the kitchen
Most offices have kitchens and/or dishwashers. It is sometimes tempting to ask the intern to do the dishes, empty the dishwasher or otherwise clean up the kitchen after lunch.