Even Gods need help – What Thor: The Dark World and comic book movies teach us about internships
Thor the fictional Norse God of Thunder played by Chris Hemsworth, Jane Foster by Natalie Portman and Stellan Skarsgård as Dr. Erik Selvig are your hero’s in the 2013 movie blockbuster Thor: The Dark World but there are two guys that deserve recognition too and guess what, they are on internships!
Darcy Lewis played by Kat Dennings is the intern of Jane Foster who in turn has an intern, Jonathan Howard as Ian Boothby. Overly complicated it may be but the film shows internship hunters or companies hosting interns some important lessons that should not be easily dismissed. Take this exchange;
Darcy Lewis: Come on, this is exciting! Look, the intern is excited.
Ian Boothby: Ian.
Darcy Lewis: Do you want the phase meter?
Jane Foster: No.
Darcy Lewis: Bring the phase meter. [to Ian]
Darcy Lewis: The toaster looking thing.
Ian Boothby: I know what the phase meter is.
Darcy Lewis: Intern, the entrance is this way.
Ian Boothby: Ian, my name’s Ian.
Many current or former interns will be familiar with this, being treated like they are not intelligent human beings in some situations. It’s a given but highly important that an intern gets the most out of his or her internship role and is challenged but not treated like a blank slate of information.
An interesting piece by AARP covered ‘8 things you can learn from your intern’
showing employers too can benefit from their intern and not take them for granted just like the one above in the sequel to Thor. International Collaboration, Thinking Big and Building Relationships are all essential things an intern can bring to a company (or fictional God) without even realizing it.
Feeling undervalued as an intern is a common problem for graduates and yet it is the interns who come to the aid of the God of Thunder and his homeland as his mortal friends conjure up a scientific solution to defeat their mutual nemesis Malekith.
Interning is still a relatively new concept, especially abroad but with the idea working itself into popular culture it’s clear that there are wider similarities between internships and comic book movies.
In 2009 Forbes noted, ‘If you were in college before the 1980s, chances are you never did anything called interning’.
In the 80’s you may have not heard of interning but then all you had in the way of comic book films was Christopher Reeve saving the world in spandex, comic book films have come a long way since then and so have internships.
Much like X-Men started a comic book movie boom in 2005, the last decade has been incredibly important to the rise of the internship. Figures by the Higher Education Statistics Agency in the UK showed 10% of 2009 graduates failed to find work within a year, the unemployment rate in Spain for under 25’s is at 57% and the U.S. department of labor reported that about 1.5 million BA degree-holders under the age of 25 were jobless or unemployed. Internships at home or abroad (or with a comic book deity) are becoming an integral part of a new graduates development as they search for permanent employment.
A simple search on the importance of internships will give you plenty of results including ‘The White House Internship’ and some great results such as Grand Valley State University’s 25,000 students participating in 7,100 ‘experimental learning opportunities’ in 2012 and they note 40% rise since 2005.
Knowing that the internship has risen and unemployment around the world has too, going back to Thor: The Dark World, the movie shows us that an intern can handle his or herself in a stressful situation, an intern can make the big calls and perhaps most importantly an intern can make his or herself an important part of the team.
This is a key point for both parties when deciding on an internship or hiring an intern, will the intern be valued and will the intern have a worthwhile part to play in the organization. Despite initial mistreatment, the interns in Thor are valued for their contributions and you would hope to see these interns popping up on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. anytime soon on full pay.
One final thought, there may have been two interns on screen in Thor: The Dark World but it would not be out of this world to suggest that one or two interns may have been behind the scenes in making the movie. Let’s not forget them either, I hope the film makers took note of the films internship message and their hard working interns weren’t just making the tea and coffee or carrying Thor’s hammer for him…