(Not too long ago, I was searching around in my computer for academic material when I stumbled upon this. I had noted this down after a particularly exhausting audit season to remind myself why I was where I was.)
One of the prime conditions in the Chartered Accountancy course is that all students are mandatorily required to undergo what the Institute terms a “rigorous articleship”, to “prepare the student to tackle professional challenges head on.” There’s an important lesson here – DON’T BELIEVE THE PROSPECTUS. But we’ll come to that another day. So here’s what I learned about internships the last three and half years of my particularly, er, rigorous, articleship training.
10. Making/getting coffee is also part of the job description:
Sure, you’ve topped school, your classmates are industrial scions and you drive the same car as your boss. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make you the boss. Expecting to be given challenging assignments the second day you’ve joined doesn’t really happen, no matter how shiny your academic record is. Getting coffee and learning to operate the photocopy machine will definitely be a significant part of your first few months in the office. On the plus side, your mother can now include “Makes excellent filter coffee” along with that part about you being the perfect blend of traditional and modern values on your tamilmatrimony profile.
9. Networking and friendships:
It’s important to make friends with the people you work with. Even if you’re not going to be exchanging “Frendz4ever” bracelets every August or sending each other “Oram-nnu peru vechavan Nera podraan aana Nehra-nnu peru vechavan Orama podraan” type SMS forwards every morning, it’s necessary to be cordial. Remember that you’ll be spending 8+ hours at work, 5 days a week, so apart from the fact that life would be that much more painful if you don’t get along with the people you work with, you never know who’s going to end up where. That checked-shirt full naamam Varadu boy the rest of you made fun of might just become the Commissioner of Income Tax. Or worse, your husband.
8. Dress well, dress appropriate.
I worked in a typically conservative tamil brahmin office where the youngest partner was about 52 years old and the oldest, 80. So I didn’t really have much of a choice when it came to adhering to the Salwar-Kameez-with-Dupatta dress code. It’s not very likely you’d be under similar constraints, but if you are, I’d recommend you embrace your inner housewife. What? We both know what you want to do after you finish your CA is to become a housewife. Seriously. I know.
7. There will be times when you feel like jumping out of the nearest window.
It happens to all of us. Hang in there. And no, whatever you do, don’t try to push your boss out of the window. They almost always survive.
6.Mistakes WILL happen.
And no, it’s not the end of the world. In fact, it’s the very purpose of your internship. You’re there to make mistakes. Goof ups are an integral part of the time you spend there, and the more the merrier! Ofcourse, there’s something about learning from your mistakes. Or something.
5. Be grateful to your boss.
The man is literally paying to let you screw up on his behalf.
4. Remember that there are people who’re going to be better than you at work.
Deal with it. In fact, ask him/her for help with your assignments sometime. Happiness comes from triumphing over your ego. Greater happiness comes from seeing other people do your work.
3. Never regret the choices you make here.
There’s no going back, anyway. You don’t have a degree, do you?
And even if you do, there’s no going back. HA!
2. You ARE going to get yelled at.
Your brain’s exact whereabouts will be questioned, as will be your general ability to locate and extract hair follicles. Also, part of your job description.
1. You ARE going to get better at the job.