How to Lose a Job in 10 Days

Many of you out there may be finding yourselves in the midst of the co-op hunting season. Some are getting back into the Great Co-Op Search, while others are going through this experience for the first time. Whether you be a co-op pro or an interview novice, I am offering a little insight on what you can expect from your upcoming trial size of the real world. Am I doing this because I find great joy in offering others the opportunity to benefit from my experience? No. To be quite honest, I have an hour to kill before I get off of work and absolutely nothing to do. So this is merely an effort to make me look busy for the rest of the day. Thanks.

Securing your dream co-op starts with writing your resume. My only advice is two words: artistic freedom. Provided you manage to maneuver the resume appropriately, you're off to your interviews.

It is often said that first impressions are the most important. In order to assist, I'll give you a tip that results from my observation of the current state of corporate America. The thing is that, in the working world, accents are all the rage these days. You see, the American education system isn't exactly tops right now. So an accent can help convey a superior educational background. Even if you're not native born, but have mastered the English language, throw in some incorrect pronunciations, missed metaphors and an indiscernible dialect and you'll be rolling in the money in no time. Communication confusion now means big bucks later. Trust me like your family horse, mate.

Let me save you some aggravation right off the bat. The first 15 minutes of any interview is going to be a dreadfully boring account of the company's history. As soon as you hear the words, "This company, or I should say a former incarnation of this company, was founded in 1908 by a colony of Finnish dwarves..." feel free to nod off. As you might imagine, at no point during the interview will you be tested on this material. Just listen for the words "...and that's where we stand today" and you'll be fine.

With these tips, you'll easily secure the job, so let's get right to what you should expect once your employment begins. The first thing you need to know is what "administrative tasks" means. It may sound important, but the similarity between the words "administrative" and "administration" is merely to deceive you into thinking you're doing something of great significance. Administrative tasks" translates into "bitch work. I don't mean this in a chauvinistic sense, but in that when learning that your day will be filled with copying, scanning, faxing and maybe even some light vacuuming, you'll most likely instinctively mutter, "Son of a bitch!"

Another thing to note is that the communication skills in the workplace are not exactly crystal clear. Too often I've had to sit through a fifteen minute explanation of a three minute task, which I already knew how to do before this great orator of the office decided to "help."

Speaking of coworkers, I would be doing you a disservice if I failed to prepare you for the sordid array of characters you'll be sharing your time with for the next six months. It's a guarantee that you'll be employed with at least one of these sad individuals. The basics include the Sports Nut, Johnny Nicknames, Creepy Stalker Guy, the Perky Princess and the Man-Without-a-Childhood.

The Sports Nut's deal is pretty obvious in that he exclusively uses athletic metaphors and superfluous sports vocabulary. You'll routinely hear this fool make unnecessary celebratory remarks as "You know Microsoft Outlook? Alright! Slam Dunk, buddy!", followed by an obligatory high-five. The annoyances of Johnny Nicknames and the Perky Princess are self explanatory. One missed her calling as the next Barney the Dinosaur and the other assigns asinine nicknames to all coworkers. I don't know why, but I'm the one that is called Fluffy Bunny Pants.

The Man-Without-a-Childhood is somewhat of an oddity and should rightly be placed in a circus side show due to the fact that you cannot possibly imagine this man ever being young. From the looks of him, he was born a middle-aged, plainly dressed man whose everyday vocabulary has always included words like "nomenclature," "non-issue," and "paradigm shift."

Creepy Stalker Guy is an altogether different brand of freak in that his super power is the ability to make you feel dirty just by looking at you as he slinks around the office. He's generally aged 45-60, lives alone and you can't help but feel that he vehemently supports the Internet Use Privacy Act.

Just because I like you, I'm going to reveal what is quite possibly the most crucial piece of information you'll learn in your professional experience. The ALT-TAB keyboard combination can save you in ways you can hardly imagine. In case you don't speak dork, pressing ALT and TAB on your keyboard at the same time will switch between the different programs running on your computer without having to suspiciously use the mouse. "Oh, do I hear the footsteps of a superior approaching? Goodbye Lizzie McGuire Fan Club site. Hello generic looking spreadsheet!" Trust me.

My final word of advice to you is to be afraid, be VERY afraid. In recent years, interns have become the scapegoat for all kinds of trouble in the working world. In my opinion, it was Monica Lewinsky who helped usher in this golden age of corporate scandal. First President Clinton, then Enron executives benefited from the old "the intern did it" excuse. It works every time, so keep your eyes open and your hands clean.

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