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IHAVEANIDEA.ORG > ask jancy >  My uninterested partner is ruining my internship experience. HELP!

My uninterested partner is ruining my internship experience. HELP!

Hello Jancy,
I’m an art direction intern at an agency in NYC. I’m writing because I’m having problems with my partner. While you’ve answered a lot of questions about partner troubles with those who have full-time positions, I’m not sure what the protocol is for interns.
I’m working hard, requesting as much work as possible and trying to get a job after my internship. But my partner is going back to school and has an “I don’t care” attitude because he doesn’t want to go into advertising, spending most of the day looking up new music for his blog or something. It’s really affecting my work when we’re concepting together because he shoots down all of my “crazy” ideas and then offers very not very creative ideas in return (which I never shoot down because I’m trying to be a good partner even if they do suck). He arrives late, disappears for hours, and then leaves before I do everyday. I’m not sure if I should tell our supervising partners (a senior art director for me and copywriter for him) or the HR person that is in charge of all interns, or if I should say anything at all and stick it out?
Thanks a bunch,
Frustrated Intern

intro My uninterested partner is ruining my internship experience. HELP!In a smaller agency your partner would have been bounced out. We’re assuming at least that you’re at a big shop where that behavior can be missed by senior management. The CD and CW over you should see it in their positions and it’s too bad they seem to be turning a blind eye.

So what can you do? First, rule one in any partnership is honesty. Tell him what you wrote us. This might at least mean new rules of engagement in brainstorming (you literally can’t call it a brainstorm if ideas are shot down at the start), and more consideration for the importance of the experience to your career.

Next up, talk to the AD or CW you report to that you need coaching from them on how to make the partnership work. In the spirit of commitment to doing your best, share that you don’t seem to have the same ideas about how to collaborate.What do they think you should do to excel in general, and how would they advise you communicate with a partner that doesn’t agree on what a good idea is. This opens the door to them looking into what that’s about. They will get there’s a problem, but you can avoid looking like you’re ratting out the guy by staying focussed on your interest in doing your best.

If that leads nowhere, we suggest you work more on your own. As far from ideal as that may be, you may do better that way. It’s too bad you’ve drawn the short straw in the partnership. It’s always a gamble for the CD that it will click and that truly talented and deserving people are showing up. Give it your best anyway and don’t let the guy ruin the opportunity to learn.

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About Jancy

'Jancy' is Janet Kestin and Nancy Vonk, Co-Founders of Swim, a unique “creative leadership training lab for advertising creatives and marketers.” Prior to Swim, Jancy was globally renowned as the Co-Chief Creative Officers of Ogilvy & Mather Toronto, a position they held for thirteen of the twenty years they were a creative duo at the agency. Over the years they've racked up Cannes Lions, Clios, One Show pencils and CA credits, and have lead their shop to two Cannes Lions Grand Prix and a Grand Clio. They've judged CA, Cannes, D&AD, the One Show, the Clios and other prestigious award shows. Creativity named them two of the top 50 creative people of 2008. Known for their outspoken, no-bullshit style and a passion for mentoring juniors, they're ready to give you advice if you're ready to take it.

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