Monthly Archives: May 2005


What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you say “intern responsibilities”? COFFEE! Today two gentlemen had a meeting with my boss, but when they arrived she was nowhere to be found. One of the Executives let them in, and sought me out to “handle them”. I escorted them to a conference room. And then it happened: I asked if I could get them anything, water, coffee, tea, whatever. One asked for a glass of water and the other asked for coffee. I laughed at the irony of me getting coffee. Obviously, the intern makes coffee. But that has NEVER been one of my responsibilities, much like Jake Conley, who’s position “is not running errands and getting coffee”.

In fact, when I started at my old job, my boss had to actually show me how to brew a pot. One day, one of the employees asked me to make him a cup, and I quickly ran over to get it for him. When I returned, he had a huge grin on his face, and I realized that he was just joking.

The point is that I spend the majority of my time doing cool and interesting, or at the very least, advanced things, but it really brings me back to “being an intern” when I get coffee for someone.

All this talk of coffee, and I think I’ve just found a perfect “Joke of the Week” for next week:

A college senior was hired as an intern, and his first task was to go out and fetch coffee for the office staffers.

Eager to do well on his first day, he grabbed a large thermos and hurried to a nearby coffee shop. He held up the thermos and the coffee shop worker quickly came over to take the order.

The intern asked, “Is this big enough to hold six cups of coffee?”

The coffee shop worker looked at the thermos, hesitated a few seconds, then finally replied, “Yeah, it looks like about six cups to me.”

“Oh good!” the intern sighed in relief. “Then give me two regular coffees, two black, and two decaf.”

my assignment

My B2B (business-to-business) company sells hi-tech equipment to customers in a variety of different industries and is therefore looking for tradeshows to go to in order to get the company’s name out and to show people the product. My assignment is to basically find out where and when the tradeshows are. This sounds much more simple than it actually is.

I am going to be focusing on three industries (at least for now…). I must research numerous different professional organizations, associations, and clubs within these industries. Most of these organizations operate at both a national and state (or “area”) level. I must contact every chapter and determine whether they have a convention or tradeshow where my company can either send a speaker or be a sponsor. I will using a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to keep track of chapters’ and contacts’ information, the number of events per year, whether we would be able to get involved, how much everything costs…

I’m a little nervous because this is the kind of thing that I could end up either doing really well or just really poorly. If it doesn’t go well at first, or if I get overwhelmed, I can just see myself pushing it off and avoiding completing it. Which, I obviously can’t do. My plan is to break up the assignment to make it less overwhelming and more enticing or else I’ll end up looking like this:

I would have benefited from UCSD’s Learn at Lunch lecture: “Just-in-Time Management: Instant Cure for Overwhelm” given by Nanci McGraw. The following describes my problems perfectly.

If you really “wanna,” says McGraw, you can avoid the dual pitfalls of perfectionism and procrastination that hold many people back. If everything’s got to be perfect before a task moves forward, for example, it might never get done. Sometimes, says McGraw, “pretty good is good enough,” especially if the alternative is inaction or lack of progress. Procrastination’s not always a bad thing, she says, again citing her father’s Western wisdom: “Some things deserve every amount of procrastination you can muster up, ‘cuz you hadn’t ought to be doin’ ‘em anyway.” (WOW!) But at work, putting things off now usually creates larger problems and more work later.

So, I guess when I’m trying to tackle this assignment, I’ll remind myself that I just have to get it done. First place to avoid procrastination and perfectionism: drafting a really good letter to send to all these people.

boss confusion

Just like the newborn bird in “Are You My Mother?”, I, too, am unsure of the chain of command. Let me explain… In the marketing department we have:

VP of Marketing
Director of Marketing
Marketing Coordinator

Now I know that both the Director of Marketing and Marketing Coordinator report to the VP of Marketing, and I think that the Marketing Coordinator reports to the Director of Marketing, but I’m not sure. I know that I report to the Director of Marketing, my “boss”(?), and that I work with both the Marketing Coordinator and the Director of Marketing, (and I’ve been working more closely with the Marketing Coordinator than the Director of Marketing), but I’m not sure if the Marketing Coordinator is actually considered my boss or not.

Try saying that three times fast! Props to you if you actually followed that confusing explanation.