Intern Diaries: Dealing With Downtime

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If your internship is anything like mine, not every hour in your 9-5 day is filled with important tasks and urgent errands. Although I certainly have things to keep me occupied, a less than full schedule can make the time spent in your little cubicle feel awfully long and completely brutal. After almost three weeks on the job, I’ve come up with a list of things to get yourself through a day’s work – that is, when you’re not totally consumed with real work (and if you are, you probably have no reason or time to read this).

Get Moving
Not a smoker? That doesn’t mean you need to stay inside all day! I’ve never been a fan of the cancer sticks myself, but I allow myself a few minutes of outside time each day to prevent cabin fever and stiff bones. To avoid looking silly as you stand next to the puff-puff crew, walk to a street stand and buy some chewing gum or do some quick window-shopping.

Get Smart
Are you one of those people who can’t help but having a totally confused look on your face when someone brings up Obama’s new healthcare plan? Have you been hiding under a current-events rock? If you have free time, you should spend it getting up-to-date on the news that’s affecting your life on a daily basis. This can be done easily by visiting nytimes.com or hitting up your favorite cultural blogs, like the Huffington Post. I’ve gotten addicted to the Times’s food writer Mark Bitten (I know, not too educational, but hey – at least it’s not Facebook), who constantly updates his site with recipes and food news. If we can’t eat all day, we can at least think about eating all day!

Get G-chatting
Everyone knows that Facebook has a bad reputation. If your boss walks by and sees you looking at drunken pictures of debauchery, or worse, Facebook chatting with all your friends, it could be all downhill from there. I’ve solved this problem by utilizing G-chat, Gmail’s instant messaging tool, to carry on conversations when I’m really too bored for words. When someone walks by, you can minimize the chat and it looks like you’re simply checking your personal e-mail account. That’s allowed, right? Problem solved.

Get Social
If you’re living in New York City this summer, you should be taking advantage of all the restaurants, clothing stores, outdoor bars, and concert series’ that the deliciously Big Apple has to offer. Visit the Michael Galpert tumblog and get access to the Vanity Fair Summer 2009 guide (press the play button and don’t forget to click full screen!) –it’s chock full of suggestions that will get your city summer off to an unbelievable start. I’m loving the rooftop bar suggestions, and I’ve already gotten my tickets to MGMT’s July 1st concert in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.

And when it really seems like the clock might never budge again, try to get some shuteye. I may or may not have logged a little naptime in my secluded cubicle. No one’s looking, why not??



  1. Darwin says:

    I agree with these. I think the best is to get some reading done. Online newpapers, articles, books, etc.

  2. Erin says:

    you could also go to museums or like a friend suggested to me when I first moved to NYC, "take the train, transfer take another and then get off and walk around, take a map and a book with you. Go have lunch walk around the city, get lost and find your way home". I never did it but she liked doing that on her days off. I have done similar things but not on purpose, I try to be laid back about it because if you didn't you'd get pretty upset about being lost on the streets of NYC alone. Also go to the beaches on days off to cool off and relax from office work.

  3. Sarah says:

    I wish the interns at my company would read this. Whenever they don't have anything to do, I spot them staring at their Outlook inbox! I don't know how they get through the day doing absolutely nothing but work.

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  5. smiles says:

    I am currently interning at a firm and I always have free time because they don't give me enough assignments. I don't want to bother them so I don't ask frequently for more assignments. I just wait and read design weblogs and NYTimes and LATimes.

  6. anonymous says:

    my past internship was boring but since this one is a government one, I can't help with anything else since it is all classified, and my mentor is too busy… lame. Oh well only another 3 days till its over…

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