JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

The Not-to-be Internship

Was talking with a friend this morning. Her son is a college junior, just came home for the summer.

Earlier this year he applied for an internship at a large network. The gig would have been in human resources, his preferred field. He flew to New York for the interview (from his college down south), felt it went well. A couple of weeks later he was offered the position—dream achieved. It was paid, intensive; certainly—with a well-done summer—a job offer could have awaited.

“He was thrilled,” my friend said. “Just thrilled.”

Shortly after being offered the job, my friend’s son wrote his soon-to-be supervisor a quick “Thank You” note. He wrote it on his iPhone. He failed to capitalize the word, “Thursday.”

The next day, the soon-to-be-supervisor called. She was no longer his soon-to-be supervisor. “We don’t think you’re right for this,” she told him, citing the sloppiness. They spoke, and the company ultimately picked someone else.

Because of this …

Surprisingly, I have mixed thoughts.

On the one hand—what a remarkably dick move. This is a college kid, and you’re helping to crush a dream. He was your top candidate—until he failed to capitalized “Thursday” in a message? Really? As my friend noted, it’s entirely possible someone else came along, or a supervisor called in a favor, and this was a convenient excuse.

And yet …

I also get it. I warn my students about this shit all the time. All. The. Time. The comfort and ease and laziness that accompanies texting should not—and cannot—make its way into your professional work. I’ve had myriad papers submitted without the I capitalized; with ‘u’ instead of ‘you.’ It’s maddening, and screams to me, “I don’t really care enough to think this over.”

If nothing else, the lesson should be not to send professional e-mails via your phone.

But, that being said, it was a jerk move.