09 August 2008

Should Interns Bring Donuts?

Donuts in the break room
  • Do people still bring donuts to work?
  • They do!
  • An open box on a table means, "Help yourself."
The Who behind the donuts
  • Should interns bring in donuts?
  • Not required!
  • Only bring in treats if you can afford to.
Alternatives to donuts
  • Does it have to be donuts?
  • Healthier treats are welcomed if they are non-perishable.
  • Finger foods are preferred over items requiring utensils and plates.
Shared treats in the break room are almost always welcomed. When are they not? When they go uneaten. Then, the employee group feels bad about wasted food, and the cleaning staff comes to resent messy and smelly left-overs.

College interns at the site should not feel obligated to bring in treats. If you feel compelled to contribute, keep it simple: cookies or cupcakes will do. To make sure that your treat is used, ask your mentor or the intern coordinator when you can bring a provision. "I want to share my famous gingerbread cookies—what day or meeting would be a good time for that?"

Ingredient warnings. Even for the simplest food provision, always include an index card on the platter that mentions the ingredients. Even a peanut butter cookie that "looks" like peanut butter deserves a label in order to warn people with allergies to that famous ingredient. Other labels might be, jalapeno pepper cornbread, hot sauce on the side, walnuts inside.

Holiday themes. In many, many places a holiday theme for food or decoration is common. But not in all places! If your internship site does not display holiday items, don't bring in your own until you ask your mentor. Your favorite Halloween cookies may not be welcome, so ask first!

The content on this blog is not offered as legal advice or guidance. Consult your college, advisor, or internship supervisor for help with issues surrounding internships. © 2008 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. Dr. Bold is a co-author of the book Reflections: Preparing for your Practicum or Internship, geared to college interns in the child, education, and family fields. More about Dr. Bold can be learned at www.marybold.com

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