The Intern

When we think of a senior internship program, we think of seniors in high school or college. In the movie The Intern, they went for seniors in life. 65+ year olds became interns. It’s actually an interesting concept. The benefit of wisdom and life experience combined with the pay of an intern… something to consider. We recently watched The Intern and found 3 lessons that business owners and employees can learn.

1. Rapid growth can be deadly

In the movie, Jules is the CEO of an 18 month old online shopping startup with 216 team members, VC’s, and a beautiful industrial office. Think that through. 216 team members in Brooklyn, NY racks up probably $15M in payroll alone. Then you have the huge space, expensive website, plane tickets, in-house message therapist, and everything else that goes along with a fast paced, growing startup. The big plot of the story is that Jules is overworked and she needs help, a seasoned CEO. You’ll see other signs of things getting out of control, like poor product display, messy office spaces, miscommunication, stressed out assistants, and more. These are signs that sometimes things can move too fast and when they do, you’re likely to let quality slip, and begin to lose customers. With that, rapid, unmetered growth can be deadly.

2. Employees should respect the hustle of the owner

When one of Ben’s (70 year old intern) fellow interns is packing up to leave for the day, he looks and asks Ben if he’s staying late. The “old-school” intern tells his younger co-worker, “Can’t leave until the boss leaves.” Certainly an interesting take. As we look at today’s work force, this isn’t a normal sentiment. Either the boss is never around, and the employees take advantage of that, or the boss stays late and the employees don’t have any respect for her hustle and leave when it’s convenient for them. Now, we’re not saying that you should stay as long as the boss does every night, but we are saying that you, as an employee, should have a visible respect for the owners input and hustle. Many of us entrepreneurs are putting in a dozen hours per day to grow the business, make the customers happy, and employ you in the process. We think that hustle commands a healthy respect. Ben did a great job of showing that to Jules.

3. A little help goes a long way, so don’t be afraid to ask

The entire premise of the movie is that Jules is overworked and needs help. Her assistant is overworked as well. When Jules has Ben move his desk next to her assistant Becky, she gets a bit upset. See, Becky thinks she can handle it all on her own. Jules reassures Becky that “backup is good.” This is something that we as entrepreneurs and employees alike must learn or we will burn out. If you’re overflowing with work, your first step must be to prioritize. In that process, you should have a stack of tasks to delegate. That’s where asking for, or in Becky’s case, accepting help comes in. Nobody is superman, and even then, Clark Kent had Lois Lane to help him sometimes. It’s ok to get some help.

So, those are 3 of the lessons we found in the movie, The Intern. If you’ve seen the movie, we’d love to hear what else you learned. Drop us a comment.