WASHINGTON—When Nancy Poppelbaum came down with a bad cold she stayed home. That meant not showing up for her part-time internship at the Treasury Department, where she is the lead analyst for domestic financial markets, the desk economist for China, Japan, Korea, Australia, Europe, Asia, and Africa, and the Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy.
The entire agency had to shut down for the day. At a hastily arranged press conference, Treasury spokesperson Doris Rodriguez explained, “Even though she only works twenty hours a week, Nancy does the job of thirty full-timers, what with us not having the money to hire actual employees and all.”
She added, “We’re just thankful today was only her half day.”
Deputy Secretary Chester Black later told reporters, “We wanted to try and power through without her, only the building was locked and she had the key. I guess we probably could have gone to her apartment and gotten it, huh?”
As an intern, Poppelbaum works for no pay. Instead she receives something called “course credit”, which is industry slang for a bus pass and as many brownies left over after meetings as she can stuff into her purse. If she completes her internship successfully, when she graduates she is also entitled to a personalized email from human resources explaining that USAJOBS lost her resume but she should definitely apply again next time something opens up.
Poppelbaum was still too sick to come into work the next day, but by then the Treasury had already found another unpaid intern to replace her.