10 real-life intern mistakes

Another intern reminiscing on another intern’s mistake, reveals a more humorous mistake that inspired additional training as part of intern orientation.

“The CPA firm I worked for always hired four or five summer interns that help on miscellaneous engagements . When they didn’t have anything to work on, they were required to email the entire department with an “available for work” email so people would know they were free. When one of the interns sent their email, another intern friend of his accidentally hit “reply all” with three simple words: S*ck my d*ck.

The intern just told an entire department of 60-something people including partners, managers, department heads, etc, to ‘S*ck it.’ It was magical.  Everyone got the email at the same time and you could see heads start to come up over cube walls one by one like prairie dogs.  Managers slowly stepped out of their offices and everyone just stared at each other in shock. 

They now offer “reply all” training!”

Winnie Wu, a former Facebook SWE Intern, also shares a more humorous experience.

“I joined at the beginning of my internship under the username www (they are my initials), and all the engineers’ sandboxes started to redirect to mine because of the url address. So yes, I managed to break things without even writing a single line of code.”

In his first high school coding job, Gil Silberman burnt down his entire office due to a cabling mistake!

“It was a total loss, displaced 100+ people, and destroyed lots of files, records, artwork, and a lot of the CEO’s memorabilia,” Silberman recalls. “He never blamed me, but I think he knew it was my fault.”

It seems that playing pranks via email are no-go unless you send it to the right people. This intern learnt the hard way:

“I was 21 and at a multinational IT consulting firm. Target was one of our clients, and at that time, used the IBM dumb terminals for communication. The ‘Message Send’ command was used similar to IM now-a-days, but if you do not provide an id, it sent the message to ALL users (which few people knew about)

One Friday I sent, what I thought was a joke – ‘To commemorate Blaise Pascal’s birthday, all your computers will be run at half-speed today’. I thought it sent the message to all IT folks, but what I did not realize was that the message was sent to ALL uses – retail stores, Target business users, management teams etc. And that Friday turned out to be the 13th. 

So Target security thought it was a virus attack, and traced the origin of the message to, natually, my cubicle. I was called into work by my CTO at 2 AM, and I, with a pale face, explained how it was supposed to be a harmless prank. Then the CTO and with the CEO on the phone crafted an apology letter to the Target CEO/CIO with me right there.”

Rakesh Singarapur remembers an intern who wrote a simple java class to get the available balance of the checking account and return that value to the caller of the method.

“Our Technical Architect is very particular and asked that every exception be properly handled. So our intern did the same for his method of fetching available balance too.

The code he written is very simple –

try {

balance = getAvaialableBalance(accId);

}Catch (Exception e){
balance = 0.0;
}

He don’t want to put a null value into the object so he made it as 0. For non-tech guys: whenever an error occurred while fetching the balance make it 0.”

Needless to say, the glitch resulted in JPMorgan Chase’s customers seeing their bank balances reduced to zero.

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