So I’ve been at my internship approximately 6 weeks now, which has been about 80 hours, give or take. And basically from the start my quasi-boss has had these really high expectations for me and apparently spoke very highly of me to his coworkers and thinks I’m going to be amazing. He even accidentally told the other intern he thought I was more intelligent.
It’s been pretty quiet since then, aside from the occasional jokes that I’m taking over when the other two interns, including my sister who got me the job and was the “senior manager,” leave. Until last Tuesday when he took me aside to give me a new project.
Instead of working on the menial task of fixing errors and checking ads to see what the promotion should read as on the database, I have to work with Excel (doing all these functions I didn’t know existed) to create a sort of calculator. He walked me through the project—essentially asked me about regressions, told me the problem and asked me to solve it, made me talk through all the alternate solutions (we even talked about elasticity and Econ! and he didn’t believe me when I said I got an A in the class). He kept telling me that the answers I was giving would have been acceptable if it were someone else, but he had higher expectations for me. He also said he could say stuff like that because when you’re talented (like we are apparently?) you can basically almost say whatever you want.
For the past three days I’ve been working on this project. But it’s really really hard. I don’t know what I’m doing. And instead of answering questions, he tells me they’re stupid questions and makes me figure it out himself. I’m not bitter towards him about that at all, but I’ve been getting so stuck and confused he seems to be getting frustrated with me. And it’s really different from his joking, sarcastic self. He told me that my intelligence would be my greatest asset but also my downfall, because I don’t know everything anymore and I won’t always have the answers and I have to calm down and figure things out. And today I saw an email between him and his boss, who is my boss’s boss, telling him that I’m “incredibly sharp” and that they’ll have to give me more important projects like this “pending successful completion of this assignment.”
Pending successful completion.
Never have those words seemed so foreboding and scary and threatening and I have never in my life been this type of stressed. It’s not that hectic-“how am I going to finish anything” stress (though there is that too with finals). It’s just this depressing weight of pressure and expectations and the idea of failure looming ahead. I didn’t think work could be this scary but I really just want to curl up and cry, but for some reason I can’t. And I’m just an intern.