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Should interns be required to fetch coffee?

Posted by Rachel Esterline on Sep 14, 2009 in Internships

I just read, “The new Gen Y employee refused to get coffee!

It makes me wonder what Gen Y public relations interns think about this. Feel free to comment anonymously if you’d like, but I’m really curious. Do you think it is OK? Or, is it unfair?

I have mixed feelings about it. As an intern, I expect to get less-than-glorious work on occassion. I don’t show up at an internship expecting to be counseling clients and pitching to CNN. Have I been asked to get coffee (or something similar)? Certainly.

But, in both cases the person asking me was nice and respectful about it. They didn’t act like it was my responsibility because I was the intern. In one case, it was lunch needed for a client meeting. In another case, it was for the students helping out with an outdoor commercial on a very chilly day. I didn’t mind at all.

But, I’m not sure how I would feel about being asked to fetch coffee daily because I was the intern. I don’t even drink coffee, so I don’t understand why people will wait in long lines to buy an overpriced coffee from Starbucks (just my opinion on Starbucks).

For me, it would depend on the internship experience. If I am learning a lot and growing my skills, I don’t think I would mind. If you are busy working most of the day, it’s kind of nice to step out of the office for a few.

But, if I were only given assignments such as fetching coffee, sorting mail and making copies, I might be disappointed in the internship experience.

What do you think as a Gen Y intern/employee? Or, what do you think as someone who manages Gen Y interns/employees?

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