#tbt: 5 intern lessons from Lauren Conrad

In celebration of throwback Thursday, I thought I’d mix it up a bit and feature a post of mine that I wrote over a year and a half ago! Dayum. Can’t believe I’ve been blogging for that long. I’ll be adding a couple things here and there, and you’ll see those new additions in blue. Here goes!


I never watched Laguna Beach or The Hills when I was in middle school and high school. I guess I was sort of late to the game when it came to reality TV (I have more than made up for it now – “obsessed” is not even strong enough) – and I hadn’t yet cultivated my interest for it yet either. But when I was informed that The Hills was centered around being an intern at Teen Vogue, I was hooked – I thirsted to see the inside of the competitive industry.

Jumping on the Lauren Conrad (or if you’re bffs, LC) bandwagon was never of interest to me either – she actually really bothered me. Here was this girl who, at the age of 19, hadn’t done anything significant with her life besides starring on her own reality TV show her senior year of high school. Additionally, when she left for college, she wasn’t gone for long; she dropped out after a year and returned to Southern California. Yet here she was, living fabulously in Los Angeles, interning for one of the most widely read magazines in the young adult world.

And she hadn’t done anything to earn it!

The show made me furious, but I couldn’t stop watching. My green monster of jealousy overrode the frustration I felt, and I was obsessed with living vicariously through her. Damn her for having an awesome life. (Oh younger Julia, so much to learn…)

I decided to give her a chance – half of America was obsessed with her, there had to be a reason why! – and stop hating on her luck (if that’s what you want to call it). I decided to attempt to watch the show objectively, so that I could gain as much information as possible about the magazine world and working there through the incredibly constructed “reality” TV show.

But I hadn’t even made it to the end of the first episode before she churned my butter (and I don’t mean that in good way. She definitely over-churned).

She shows viewers some textbook bad intern qualities. So here, you’ll find the best ways avoid being a bad intern, by example of Lauren Conrad herself.

I was pretty upset here, my fellow #girlbosses. Forgive me for the girl anger – I let my passion get in the way of my conscience! I am full-blown obsessed with LC now, and she can basically do no wrong in my book. She is a self-made entrepreneur and is seriously KILLIN’ IT, with an extremely successful blog, two sweet fashion lines (LC Lauren Conrad for Kohl’s and Paper Crown), and even launched a business supporting artisan women in developing countries called The Little Market. Girlfriend is the definition of a #girlboss now.

1. Listen.

What Lauren Did Wrong: In the first episode, Teen Vogue hosts a swanky event for VIP celebs with a red carpet and everything. Lauren is given one job – guard the VIP section, and don’t sit down. Naturally, she sneaks her under-21 friends into the party, where they get properly shwasted, sit in the VIP section, and create mad drama. Plus, LC sits down. Whereas Lauren isn’t fired for this offense because Teen Vogue is getting tons of publicity for her being on the show, you (or I!) would not get so lucky, and would soon be kissing our intern cubicles goodbye.

What You’ll Do Right: When your supervisor or boss gives you a task or duty, they are expecting you to follow through! In order to do your best to impress, make sure to consistently carry a notepad or an iPad, in order to write down and track everything you need to get done. Even if they’re simple tasks, bosses will appreciate seeing you take each responsibility seriously. And in the name of killer interns everywhere, don’t sit down! I mean this both physically and mentally. No matter where you are – the office, an event, or what-have-you – let your superiors see your drive and don’t let up on your passion. If you have down time, take advantage of it and work on another project, clean your cubicle, offer your help to another intern / coworker, or swing by a superior’s office to formally check-in and let them know your progress.

2. Take responsibility for your actions.

What Lauren Did Wrong: After aforementioned disaster at the Teen Vogue party, Lauren’s boss, EIC Lisa Love, calls her into her office to discuss the crying teenagers that showed up at the party. While I do have to give Lauren mad props for not throwing Whitney under the bus (she was the one who let Lauren’s friends into the party), I have to take the props back when she acts like nothing wrong happened at the party, and refuses to take responsibility for her drunk compadres. Lisa is left unsure of how much trust she has in Lauren, and warns her that future incidents like this will land her in the hands of a firing squad.

What You’ll Do Right: Fess up. It is best to have a completely honest relationship with your supervisor / superiors. If they feel like you’re covering something up, or worse, know you’re lying to them, they’ll be unable to trust you in the future with larger tasks and wary to know if you’ll get the job done and done right. Let them know what happened in an objective way, and why – but keep it short. Apologize and inform them that while you did make this mistake, you would make sure it wouldn’t happen again. You want them to know you’ll be trustworthy in the future. However, don’t use this as a confessional – if it was you who accidentally changed the color of the ink or left a lovely coffee stain on one of the tables, these are small actions that you can surely use “accident forgiveness” for (if only the All State man could sell internship reputation insurance).

3. Don’t badmouth your friends (or coworkers).

What Lauren Did Wrong: Instead of treating her intern cubicle like a work place, Lauren treats it like a  beauty parlor – not only does she gossip consistently about her own life, but she uses it to speak badly about her friend Heidi. While Heidi arguably makes terrible decisions almost daily, the workplace is nowhere for Lauren to be talkin’ shit about her “best friend” and sharing her innermost feelings with someone she barely knows.

What You’ll Do Right: Although there is something to be said of being close to your fellow interns and sharing day-to-day life with them, there’s a line that shouldn’t be crossed – at least at work. If you find yourself growing really close to your coworkers, seek further friendship outside of your cubicle walls. By keeping personal life outside of work life, you’ll build better work relationships and professional relationships will be stronger. Plus, when you badmouth other people in front of your coworkers or bosses (this includes bitching about former bosses to your bosses!), they’ll assume that you’ll speak badly about them as well once you’re done working with them.

4. Lean in.

What Lauren Did Wrong: Whenever she is called into the office, Lauren consistently has two things: a blah personality, and a bored look on her face. And when she does offer a little bit of personality, she almost slips into an unprofessional voice – it gets higher, and she treats whoever she is talking to like they are her friend, not her coworker / supervisor / boss. She sits casually back in her chair, and answers any questions with a “ya”. Additionally, when she is casually introduced to Marc Jacobs (yeah, THE Marc Jacobs), for someone who claims how much she loves him, can’t even be bothered to stand up and shake his hand, making a proper and respectful introduction.

What You’ll Do Right: Lean in! Act interested! Even if they’re talking about the most mundane things, smile and nod like they’re sending you to Paris to eat crepes and wear berets and look cute next to the Eiffel Tower (cleaning the fashion closet yay! stuffing envelopes yay! entering data into Excel yay!). (You’ll probably be asked to fetch coffee or take out the trash, or run an errand for your supervisor at one point – DO IT, and make it the best coffee fetch you’ve ever done!) And for the love of TeenVogue, you should know by now, it’s all about who you know, not what you know (sad, but true). So when you have the opportunity to meet anyone new (let alone an incredibly famous designer), take advantage of it: speak up, shake hands firmly, and make yourself known. But speaking of Paris…

5. Go to Paris! (SERIOUSLY. GO.)

What Lauren Did Wrong: Lisa Love offers Lauren the opportunity to go to Paris for the summer as a Teen Vogue intern. Lauren says no because of a boy. Lauren is crazy. Whitney goes instead. Whitney learns a lot. Lisa Love is disappointed in Lauren. Lauren and her boy break up anyways. In a less drastic example, Lauren is invited to watch a photo shoot to learn more about the fashion industry and how they work – she openly declines, stating that she has something more important to go to, her boyfriend’s birthday party.

What You’ll Do Right: Go to Paris. Seriously. I don’t mean this literally (although, if you are offered the opportunity to go to Paris, DO IT (and take me with you!)). It’s like this: if you’re offered an incredible opportunity, take it! Those who matter will support your opportunities and will want to see you succeed in them. That boyfriend of yours? He’ll think you’re kick-ass for getting aforementioned opportunity, whatever it is! You never know what you’ll be offered or when, or even if you’ll ever get the chance again. Additionally, it’s an awesome excuse for your boyfriend / friends to come and visit you wherever you go! Ooh la la, mon cherie. Take advantage of every opportunity you can at every moment – this will show a go-getter attitude and open tons of doors for you along the way. Save me some crepes.

What is the best piece of internship advice you’ve gotten?
Who is your go-to intern role model?

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Julia Jean Kennedy

Julia Jean Kennedy

Preferring basketball over barbies, travel over tutus, and almost any chatter that could somehow relate back to Harry Potter, Julia is always game for a beer and an impromptu booking of a ticket to a game, country, or even the latest Fast and Furious movie. Here, find random thoughts, tidbits about trips, and occasionally Seattle Seahawks propaganda.

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