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Career Talk

/ 1 year ago /

 Article by Alex Ekong

The 10 commandments of doing an internship in London

You ever look at the London Eye (or the Coca-Cola London Eye now, bleurgh) and wonder if it’s the very eye of God himself? Well, for all you know it is. We’re a funny breed here in the big city. We believe that the God of London is real; its spirit hovers over the waters of the Thames, gently gentrifying and raising house prices. We pray to it on the Tube with silent deference. So shall it pass its judgement on you while you do an internship in London.

For those brave souls who flirt with damnation on the daily, Debut – London God’s earthly representatives and  graduate recruitment app of choice – drafted this list of ten commandments. Read on to spare yourself a terrible vengeance.

 

1.  Thou shalt adhere to the dress code always

internship in london

London God frowns upon the Shoreditch kids wearing see-through plastic t-shirts and sockless loafers. Don’t follow them. Before you start an internship in London, make sure you get the skinny on the office dress code well in advance. And if you see the words ‘office-casual‘ and don’t know what they mean, do investigate that first. If not, you might end up wearing a suit to work at a start-up – a cardinal sin.

2. Thou shalt not speak during the rush-hour commute

internship in london

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The commute is a sacred time for quiet prayer and reflection on your to-do list and unread work emails. Anybody caught violating this most holy of laws shall be subject to much shushing and sideways glancing.

3. Thou shalt not be falsely idle

internship in london

You will not survive an internship in London without a lot of work to do. So when you don’t have it, it’s your job to find it. If you run out of things to do, volunteer and make yourself available wherever possible. Doing this will show that you have some of that famous initiative which is known to please London God.

4. Thou shalt remember Happy Hour and keep it holy

internship in london

On a Thursday in the 8 hours between 9am and 5pm, God created London. Then in the ninth hour, God said ‘Let us go to the pub on the corner and crack open a few cold ones’. And God saw that it was good. Londoners honour this tradition with Happy Hour, during which there is much praise and worship of real ales and cheap cocktails. So I say unto you, take this as a golden opportunity to bond with your new colleagues.

5. Thou shalt not make yourself a cuppa without asking anyone else if they want one

internship in london

It’s said that you should love thy neighbour as thyself. Well in London, there is no greater show of affection than making someone a piping hot drink. To treat yourself to that joy and not offer the same to your peers is death in some cultures, especially if you’re an intern. Take note.

6. Thou shalt not say the company’s name in vain (on social media)

internship in london

Seems like every other week a ‘millennial‘ gets in trouble for saying mean things about their jobs online. That’s not gonna go over well on an internship in London. Complaining about work is only gonna make you feel worse anyway, so just don’t so it. You don’t wanna end up as a front page story on MSN.com, do you? Didn’t think so.

7. Thou shalt not kill your curiosity

internship in london

Not sure about something? Curious about how the business really works? Don’t keep you burning questions to yourself. Getting as much knowledge out of your internship in London will stand you in good stead to reach the promised land of permanent employment. So remember to pick your colleagues’ brains whenever you can.

8. Thou shalt not go to Pret more than once a week

internship in london

It’s overpriced and bad. London God wants you to push the boat out every now and again.

9. Thou shalt not commit manager adultery

internship in london

You’ll likely have a direct manager or mentor for the duration of your internship. Look out though, a lot of other people are gonna want to use you as an extra pair of hands. Your manager, however, is the one that writes the gospel for you. If someone else asks you to do a task, run it by them first. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself stuck in the wilderness with a whole lot of extra work.

10. Thou shalt not burn bridges

internship in london

This is a terrible, terrible sin. One of the most valuable things you can get from an internship in London is a network. So start building it. When you finally leave at the end, say your goodbyes and thank yous but also get email addresses. The people who helped you during the purgatory of an internship may just help you again when you get to job heaven. Amen.

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