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I've been an intern at a company for a little over a month and I have made a mistake. For context, this same mistake was once made by my manager when I first started and they pinned it on me, so this time around, it made it seem like I've made the same mistake again. My manager called me yelling over the phone and implicitly threatened to end my internship.

I started during COVID, so I didn't get the usual training and being in the same office as the manager, which made learning more difficult. I have started crying every day because of stress and the fear of making another mistake. This stress and fear have taken a toll on my health, but I need this internship for my school and I can't terminate the contract.

What should I do? How do I make up for it so that my manager isn't as harsh on me?

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    Jeez, anyone who would yell at an intern for making a mistake when they've only been on the job for a month has a real problem, and probably shouldn't be managing interns. Do you have any kind of mentor at the company? – Seth R Apr 16 at 17:12
  • My manager is my mentor. They don't even want me talking to others including HR, and since I'm working remote, my manager is the only person I talk to in the company – Douae831 Apr 16 at 17:15
  • How long do you have left in your internship? – Gregory Currie Apr 16 at 17:55
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    Have you spoken to your school about the situation? – Gregory Currie Apr 16 at 17:57
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    @Gregory Currie I have 4.5 months left. I've spoken to my internship coordinator at uni and she told me to only complete the required internship duration duration graduate and then resign. She was shocked at the behavior of my manager but knows I don't have much choice since it's too late to start another internship – Douae831 Apr 16 at 19:57
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For context, this same mistake was once made by my manager when I first started and they pinned it on me

Do you have any evidence that it was your manager that made this mistake? Like if you're a developer and you're using a version control system then you should be able to find the commit that your manager made that caused the first issue. Since that commit would be under his name and not yours that'd be your proof that it wasn't you.

If you have some proof I'd then present it to be your manager and be like:

Just for the record, this is the first time I have made this mistake. The last time this mistake was made it was made by someone else, as evidenced by the following.

I wouldn't name your manager by name but presumably fault would be able to be determined by the evidence you presented.

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    My manager recalled their email the first time so I had no proof if was them who sent me the document containing a mistake, which I proceeded to forward because I thought it was all correct – Douae831 Apr 16 at 17:02
  • @Douae831 - Was the document a Microsoft Word document? If so it might be possible to employee some forensic techniques to ascertain who made the change: vestigeltd.com/in-the-news/… . Recalls may also not be as fool proof as one might think: quora.com/… – neubert Apr 16 at 17:08
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    What's the point of dredging up the past? An intern isn't going to be able to drive a forensic investigation against a manager to be able to attribute a mistake. – Gregory Currie Apr 16 at 17:58
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    @neubert, from OP's description of their manager's behavior, it seems more likely they are having a hard time because the manager is an abusive jerk. "Setting the record straight" is not likely to help matters. – Seth R Apr 16 at 18:17
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    My manager doesn't want me talking to anyone else in the company, not even HR. They say I should only talk to them and they'll get the message to the other person. I'm completely isolated and can't go into direct conflict with my manager because if i get kicked out of the internship, I'll fail my final year of UNI – Douae831 Apr 16 at 19:18
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This stress and fear have taken a toll on my health but I need this internship for my school and I can't terminate the contract.

Brush it off. This is just a temporary placement for a specific purpose. Not worth getting upset over. You need to make a mental shift and discount the personalities.

Do the best you can and don't let people who will soon be irrelevant to you impact negatively on your mental health. That's the main thing to remember, this person and their petty tyranny are totally irrelevant.

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