This is part of the SaaS series. Any connection to reality will be strictly denied.
Internships are best approached as a long-term field trip. You should plan to be exposed to new things, spend some time out of your comfort zone, and, by all means – use the buddy system.
My buddy’s name is Biff.
As our eye-opening experience learning to savor soup while sipping scotch revealed, not only did we learn a lot of technical skills during our Microsoft internship, but we also learned key life skills.
On the topic of life, Biff loved life. Biff also loved drinking, and loved driving – and – while sober, he had no trouble understanding that flirting with drinking and driving would ruin his relationship with life. But, as I learned that chilly Seattle fall, Biff’s sound judgment disappeared at quickly as the scotches – and was replaced by a foolish desire to drive drunk.
As an engineer, or perhaps as a foreshadowing of my future role as development lead, I'd devised a structural solution. When we went to parties, Biff got to drive us there, then I'd take his keys, savor my one and only one IPA and then be in charge of getting us home. The buddy system had thus far proven to be 100 proof effective.
However, one day as we arrived at a party, I was distracted by a redhead and made a beeline to bask in her presence. Thirty minutes later, I had come to see two things: the redhead had no interest in me and Biff had already seen the bottom of four scotch glasses.
I couldn't do anything about the redhead, but I could try to reason with Biff. Turns out, he was even less receptive to my ideas than the redhead.
ME: Give me your keys!
ME: Dude, give me your keys!
Biff: Man, chill, I'm good, I can drive.
ME: Look, just give me the keys.
Biff: Look, if you think I'm drunk now, you should have seen me driving last Friday, I couldn't even walk a straight line.
ME: Here's the deal, give me your keys now, and if you can jump off that balcony AND be OK, I'll give your keys back.
Biff: Really? I jump and then I can drive home?
At this point, Biff surrendered his keys and leapt off the third story balcony which caused everyone else at the party to freak out. The two guests closest to me had a particularly colorful conversation:
Partygoer 1: Holy Shit – Biff jumped off the balcony!
Partygoer 2: Oh my god! Is he dead? Is he hurt?
Partygoer 1: Get a flashlight
Since Biff and I go way back, I was able to keep my calm as everyone else freaked out. See, I know Biff was basically the judo champion of a small country. He’s incapable of turning down a challenge to leap off of tall buildings or scale tall fences. While our fellow partygoers were stumbling around looking for a flashlight and trying to find the number for an ambulance, I casually unlocked the front door and wished Biff could watch the commotion with me.
Three minutes later, Biff crashed through the front door with a gleaming smile as if he'd just pulled off the big finish at a magic show.
Biff: Tada! I did it – give me the keys, I can drive.
The party guests around us exclaimed in utter befuddlement: “What? Jesus, you should have died!” They pleaded, “Igor - do not let him drive! Keep his keys!”
Morale of the story 1: Do not drive drunk, I don’t care how well you did it last time you were drunk.
Morale of the story 2: Keep your friends safe – be creative if you can, throw them out a window if you must, but your obligation is paramount.