About halfway through the summer, I noticed that our bright young intern seemed harried. She held frequent, highly emotional, phone conversations and her productivity started to tail off. Although, as a manager, I prefer to allow people to come to me if they have a personal issue (because, let’s face it, the last thing anyone wants from their manager is help with their personal problems), it seemed appropriate to at least offer support, especially since I knew her parents were out of the country.
“It’s the Sheriff from West Lafayette,” she said. “He wants me to come to Indiana tomorrow and give a deposition.”
I blinked. “Deposition?”
“My parents left $40,000 with my uncle, in case I needed something,” she said. “And my boyfriend and I used it to buy a Jeep Cherokee.”
I’m usually pretty quick on the uptake, but I didn't understand why the Sheriff was interested in Rashmi’s latest automotive acquisition.
“My parents are very mad. They said they did not leave that money for me to buy a truck.”
Valid, but I couldn't see where the Sheriff came into it.
She continued. “Last week, you remember I was sick?”
“My mother wanted my boyfriend to stay with me, in case I got worse.”
Yeah, that didn’t help with the puzzle.
“We left the Jeep parked outside his apartment,” she said. “So we wouldn’t put any more miles on it, in case we had to take it back.”
“A bank in West Lafayette was robbed, and the Sheriff says the bank’s security camera showed my Jeep.”
Suddenly, the full picture emerged.
“I told the Sheriff that my employer would not like me to miss work.”
I explained that the average corporation, given the choice between a lost employee work day and having the Sheriff show up in the lobby, would choose Option A every time.
She spent the next day in West Lafayette.
As it turned out, Rashmi was on her cell phone in Ohio at the time the bank was robbed, and her carrier’s records proved it. Soon after that, she returned to school to finish up her five majors, and we never did hear who borrowed the Jeep.
But to this day, when I'm offered an intern, I decline.
(Notice how I resist the urge to take a cheap shot at Bill Clinton? That's because I have discipline.)