My First Internship “Whoops” – #2

So my internship was going well.

First day was overwhelming, but that was to be expected. After the first week I felt more comfortable with my job (pretty much doing anything and everything that someone needs done at that moment), the team (love my team!), and having to wait in the elevator every morning and messaging one of my teammates on Slack because I don’t get a keycard for my internship (it’s the little things.)

Last Thursday/Friday, my “main mentor” was out of office. (Also, “main mentor” is in quotes because everyone at the company is my mentor, but he’s the one technically responsible for any messes I might make)

Anyway. He was out of office both of those days.

Thursday goes by fine. I have a good amount of stuff to work on. No emergencies.

Then Friday comes.

It’s just me and the CEO at the office, and she has a board meeting next week she has to prepare for and send spreadsheets out for. And those spreadsheets need a lot of sales information that’s scattered around all over our Google Drive and CRM (Customer Relationship Management AKA basically sales platform). And my mentor, AKA the sales guy, is not there.

This means, you guessed it! I had the lucky job of working going through and creating a bunch of spreadsheets, which was surprisingly interesting.

At first.

By the end of the day my head was filled with profit projections, revenue projections, and other random numbers, which is when the mistake happened.

The CEO gets an email telling her that we need to create yet another spreadsheet.

She tells me all about it.

I think I got it. I have to get a bunch of data from our CRM, organize it, and put it into a spreadsheet.

I check with her after inputting one row into the doc.

It looks right.


1 hour later I send over the finished document to her and that’s when she realizes that everything is not great.

I misunderstood her instructions and instead of filtering the data using the estimated closing date of our potential contract, I organized it using the open date of our contract.

This means that:

  1. I’m missing a TON of data because the overlap between the two isn’t huge
  2. I just wasted an hour of my time, and a bunch of her time because we were both confused and couldn’t figure out why the other person was confused
  3. I have to redo everything over again!

So I make sure I understand what we actually need, spend another hour on it, and VOILA, it’s actually done!

This “whoops” wasn’t huge, but the mind-numbing task of copying and pasting things into a spreadsheet for 1 hour and realizing that I didn’t have to actually do that taught me that I should really understand what the other person is thinking of when we’re discussing a project or task I’m taking on.

Otherwise, stuff like this will happen.

2 thoughts on “My First Internship “Whoops” – #2

  • July 15, 2018 at 6:33 pm

    Hi Ilya,
    Oof, mistakes can be tough. Thanks for sharing your “oops” and how you handled it! Did you and your “main mentor” talk it out when he returned the following week?

    I’m glad that the spreadsheet development process was interesting! It’s good that the mistake was caught early on, as opposed to when the CEO was presenting the following week. It sounds like you handled it with poise, and initiative in getting it all fixed.

    It sounds like you’ve been flexible with responsibilities, serving as a jack of all trades, and even being patient without having office access during the internship start. Way to roll with the environment! Are there specific goals you’ve set for the summer that you’d like to work toward? Asking more questions/clarity around assignments is one you mentioned from this post!

    Thanks for sharing your challenge,

    • July 15, 2018 at 10:59 pm

      Hey Beth,
      Yes, my “main mentor” and I have weekly checkins which has been extremely helpful in seeing what I’m doing well, what I could improve on, and unveil other learning opportunities I haven’t thought of.

      I expected I would pretty much do whatever is needed before starting the internship- it’s that startup environment after all- so being jack of all trades has been very fun.

      I haven’t set any specific goals for the summer regarding my internship other than learning as much as possible and being open to feedback and opportunities when they show up.



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