When Your Terrible Intern Is a VIP’s Son. Here’s a roundup of answers to five questions from readers.

1. When your terrible intern is a VIP’s son

One of our company directors has brought his son on as an intern. His son has been assigned to the same department I work in, but he appears to have the reading, writing, and communication skills of a child. He has misspelled his own name and his father’s name on memos. He misspells common words; doesn’t use things like commas, periods, or capital letters; and writes everything in one long run-on sentence. He was unable to file things in alphabetical order without checking with me to confirm the order of the letters.

I’ve tried to help him, but he keeps making bigger and bigger mistakes. Last week he sent a typo-filled, run-on sentence email to another department and that person’s manager came back to us because no one could understand what he had written. When the director found out, he blew up and was angry that anyone would say anything about his son’s writing skills. He said his wife home-schooled his sons and she taught them everything they needed to know and no one should question his son’s ability.

“wp-image-111805 size-full” title=”When Your Terrible Intern Is a VIP’s Son” src=”https://www.tipsclear.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/When-Your-Terrible-Intern-Is-a-VIPs-Son.jpg” alt=”When Your Terrible Intern Is a VIP’s Son” width=”626″ height=”352″ /> When Your Terrible Intern Is a VIP’s Son

Before the blow-up, I had gone to my manager because fixing the mistakes has been taking up more and more of my time. After the blow-up, my manager told me to leave it alone so we don’t incur the wrath of the director, but trying to fix these mistakes is getting in the way of my own work. Should I talk to my boss again or do something else about it?

The director is doing his son a terrible disservice, at least if the son might ever have a need to hold down a job anywhere else. But that’s not your problem, nor is it anything you can do anything about. It sounds like the director has made it clear that he’s not to be questioned on this, and so apparently you’re going to have a terribly unskilled intern for the next however many months.

Go back to your boss and say this: “I understand that we shouldn’t raise the problems with Mark’s work. Can you give me some guidance on how I should handle issues X, Y, and Z that are coming up when I work with him? How would you like me to handle those?”

You don’t need to solve this yourself. You just need to identify for your boss the problems it’s causing for you (workload, or whatever else) and let him tell you how he wants to handle it. It’s possible that he might tell you to just give the son busy work that no one will really see, or that yes, you really do need to prioritize correcting his work over another project, or who knows what. But it’s his call to make, as annoying as the whole situation is.

2. Should I bring up my disability in my review?

I am hard of hearing and wear hearing aids. I work in a small office, and I believe all my coworkers and supervisors know of my hearing loss. I think they forget this fact and don’t understand the sheer effort and amount of concentration that hearing requires for me. I don’t blame them, but I feel like they are judging me harshly for being “too quiet,” particularly on conference calls, during group social hours, and with the inter-office chatter. These are all situations which are extremely difficult, if not impossible, for me to participate in.

I am worried that my quiet nature is seen as a lack of assertiveness, comprehension, or care and that this might come up during my review. Should I try to explain how my disability affects these things? I am starting to feel like I have a reputation for being aloof, when really it is because I struggle to hear.

Yes! But bring it up now, before it’s review time so that lack of knowledge of this doesn’t end up influencing (consciously or unconsciously) your manager’s evaluation of you. Say this: “I wanted to mention to you that my hearing loss can sometimes make it hard for me to hear clearly on conference calls and at things like group events. I end focusing so much on hearing that I’m often not able to participate as much as I would otherwise. I don’t want you to interpret it as me being less engaged or not interested in being there! I am — they can just be tougher situations for me.”

A good boss will appreciate knowing this, not only so that she can check any wrong assumptions she was making, but also so she can work with you on ways