my terrible intern is a VIP’s son and can’t be fired


This post, my terrible intern is a VIP’s son and can’t be fired , was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

A reader writes:

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.

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?

I answer this question — and four others — over at Inc. today, where I’m revisiting letters that have been buried in the archives here from years ago (and sometimes updating/expanding my answers to them). You can read it here.

Other questions I’m answering there today include:

  •  Should I bring up my disability in my review?
  • My manager invited one of us to her wedding, but not the rest of us
  • Interviewers who are late
  • Asking people to stop leaping on me as soon as I walk into the office


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