Tuesday, June 06, 2006

She's doing a bang-up job

Intern has been doing a great job for the most part over the past few weeks. She’s a good kid – pretty quiet for the most part, finishes her work quickly and pretty accurately. You can tell that she doesn’t have a lot of office experience because she has a hard time understanding the flow of paperwork, but I’m hoping that within the next few weeks I’ll actually have a chance to breathe and spend some time teaching her how to handle things like submittals and RFI’s.

Part of the challenge I’ve been having with Intern is that I haven’t actually supervised someone in over seven years. Add in the fact that I’m kind of a control freak and I have a really difficult time delegating. Not to mention that it’s hard passing off work that someone who doesn’t have a good familiarity with the industry can’t easily grasp. And how much responsibility do you want to give a kid who is going back to school in three months? It's been an almost daily nightmare keeping this girl busy.

Every day when I get to work, she has already been there at least 15 minutes and within seconds she is eagerly waiting at my door for something to do. And every morning I struggle trying to get her started off for the day because half of the time I don’t even know what I’m going to be working on that day.

Today was different. Young PM has a new project starting up about two hours away and needed some permits to be filed. He suggested sending Intern despite the fact that she freely admits that she gets lost almost every time she goes somewhere. So we set her up with a company vehicle, gave her the paperwork and a gas card, and sent her on her way promptly at 8 AM.

A little bit about the company vehicle…it’s about a 7-year old Dodge Durango, which has been used and abused by almost everyone on staff at one point or another. The thing is constantly breaking down, the air conditioning will go out, or someone will get stuck trying to back out of somewhere because they don’t know the cute little idiosyncrasy of how if you’re trying to go in reverse you actually need to have it in gear between reverse and neutral or it won’t work. Oh yeah, it’s a real fine piece of machinery.

So Intern was chugging along on the interstate and got about 45 miles out of the city when she heard a loud pop…suddenly, blackish blue clouds of oily smoke started pouring out from under the hood so she pulled over to the side of the road. Immediately, a female sheriff pulled up behind her and came running up to the window…

Sheriff: Miss, did you just see what you did to the road?

Intern looks back, sees large trail of oil stretching back behind her on the road.

Intern: Yeah, I thought this thing sounded funny when I left my office.

Sheriff: But you’ve gotten oil all over the road!

Intern: Well, this is a company vehicle. And I’m an intern.

So what does the sheriff do…but get back in her car and drive off, leaving Intern stranded on the side of the road. Thankfully, she had a cell phone and was able to call Young PM for help. Our maintenance guy went and picked her up and about an hour later the poor Durango arrived back at our office on a flatbed trailer with a large greasy spot underneath it. We all stood outside and mournfully watched the towing guy lower the Durango down into the storage yard, and almost in unison everyone muttered, “Piece of shit.”

I went back to my office and Intern was waiting for me since she couldn’t find Young PM to find out what to do next. I lined up another gas card for her, asked her to go on using her own vehicle, and made sure she was okay. Actually, she was pretty unaffected by the entire thing considering she was stranded out in the middle of BFE.

Me: So, you finally put the Durango out of its misery.

Intern: Yeah, apparently the engine blew. And I wasn’t even going very fast when it happened.

Me: Well, I just have to warn you that you’re probably going to get teased by the guys about blowing up the Durango.

Intern: (with a gleam in her eye) Yeah, this is going to make a great story when I go back to school in the fall.

I like her attitude.

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