Everyone needs an Eric

Matthew Reeves has been busy making friends as an intern...

You know that feeling you get; your alarm goes off and you jump out of bed. It's early, the eerie calm of the city before the eruption of life that is the rush hour. As you stand looking out across the sprawling expanse, steaming coffee in hand, you enjoy a brief moment of solace where the world is calm and momentarily beautiful. All your senses combine to produce a symphony of feeling as if to say "nothing stands between me and success". If all this is you, you're a freak. It's poetic bollocks that doesn't exist, at least not in the world of being an intern.

Take it from me, being an unpaid intern for anybody whose wage is largely determined by how much money they make for someone else is going to be hell. "Oh but it's fantastic experience" is 100 per cent true, but only if the experience you crave is that of eternal blame. It's worse than global warming through the eyes of Guardian journalists. "You dropped your tofu burger? Oh yeah, that'll be global warming - let's write a song about it for my antique accordion."

Of course the uninitiated commentators would say, "Maybe it'll get better". Well, my boss certainly hasn't improved with age. The man has the physique of an earthworm and the head of a devil. After rolling out of the wrong side of bed, he spends the next segment of his waking life guzzling more coffee than Dr. Costa Starbuck (the inventor of caffeine). The moment he walks into the office, fear descends upon the room; if we were in the Wild West the man in the corner attacking the ivories would instantly stop his staccato racquet.

As an intern you can only be trusted to make small cock-ups, so the main part of your day is spent doing mundane, primate level tasks. Every now and again though there will be an opportunity for "real experience", which is just code for messing something up at a beginner level, and subsequently feeling the wrath. Nobody is safe from my boss's wrath, it's a wrath served in small decisive portions, like tapas, and shared by all. Clearly the moral here is to avoid being involved in anything which could lead to blame. Now here ensues the tricky game of a) doing as little as possible, b) looking busy, and/or c) always being ready to pass the blame for something, anything, usually that you haven't thought of. I am particularly good at the blame game, I take it so seriously that it's an insult to call it a game. It's an exercise in thinking on your feet but sometimes, in severe circumstances, you have to be ready for the ridiculous. "Have you seen that brown box, and do you know what was in it?" In the event that you haven't been keeping a running tally of what inhabits every brown box (all the boxes in the world), then you need a ruddy sharp excuse.

The best option is to blame Eric - it's a last resort, but Eric is the type of guy who comes to work wearing a Bluetooth headset, and continues to wear it presumably so that his mum can find out what flavour of Robinsons he'd like at home time. He's the kind of guy who thinks a black shirt, black suit and black shoes is a good look, but one which can be improved by a white tie. The guy's an idiot and by gosh he's forgetful; perfect blame-passing fodder.

This point is where Monsieur SocGen falls down. €5 billion in uncovered loans. Wow. That really is pretty special. My worst is accidentally spending

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