In E.L. James’ bestselling Fifty Shades of Grey, one of Christian Grey’s 50 shades is that he is a very successful businessman. Specifically, he’s the CEO of Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc., which is filled with blonde interns running around in their nicest heels desperate to get recognized by the beautiful boss man. And now, you too can know what it’s like to be that desperate person with aching feet and little to no career-related ambition: To promote the film, Universal Pictures launched an interactive website where fans can try their hands at virtual Grey Enterprises internships.
What exactly does that entail? I enlisted in the program to find out. Unfortunately, I left without so much as a grey tie to show for it.
10 a.m. I spend approximately 15 minutes trying to come up with a username that will in no way point to my actual identity.
10:20 a.m. I get my first batch of assignments (which change every week). First up, I’m asked to create my Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc. I.D. card, which I can only assume will get me into every white room (but not any red rooms, if you catch my drift). Of course, I choose a ridiculous photo that also features a friend of mine so that if I go down, she goes down with me.
10:30 a.m. I skip assignment No. 2. No, I will not share my I.D. on social media channels.
10:45 a.m. I take a break to do my real work, at my real job. Sorry, Christian.
12 p.m. I try to click on my next assignment, which involves something about memorizing the tail number on Christian’s helicopter. The website begins malfunctioning.
12:30 p.m. I download the app to my phone, hoping I’ll have more luck.
12:32 p.m. The app promises that “Interns who excel will get special recognition from our CEO.” I experience a brief feeling of fear. But do I like it? Spoiler: No.
12:33 p.m. The app shuts itself down. Is this a sign?
1 p.m. I check back to see if I can finally get into the app. I can’t. I’m starting to think I’ve been fired.
1:30 p.m. I decide to try and complete the helicopter assignment without actually doing anything. I pick a tail number from the multiple choice list. I’m wrong. But they let me try again. So basically, you don’t actually have to do anything to be an intern. Well, except click on things until you click on the right thing.
1:32 p.m. I complete an assignment and earn a reward. What’s the reward? I have no idea. All I’m looking at is a picture of Christian’s helicopter.
1:40 p.m. I learn that another app-specific assignment involves posting a picture of your work heels. I scroll through some of the things people have posted and I decide not to post a picture of my Toms.
2 p.m. I skip the next assignment, as it involves recruiting friends to join the company.
2:15 p.m. The site asks me to sign a Grey Enterprises Holdings’ nondisclosure agreement to “show you can be trusted” with the company’s secrets. But what they’re really asking me to do is, again, click on a button. This button earns me the coveted “Contract Badge.” So, like, what do I do with these badges? Is this like Girl Scouts? (I wasn’t a Girl Scout.)
2:30 p.m. I skip another assignment by refusing to share the trailer and decide I’m the worst intern ever.
3 p.m. My app still won’t open.
3:15 p.m. Finally, I’m asked to proofread an email. I know I’ll ace this one. But when I click on the assignment, there’s no email for me to proofread. Instead, they just ask me how many errors I found. I exit the site thinking there must be a glitch. I refuse to skip the one assignment that will get me recognized by Christian.
4 p.m. I return to the site, and I still can’t find a document. Instead, I guess on the number of errors. I’m wrong. I try again, and just like that, I earn the “Sharp Eye Badge,” which comes along with this message: “You’re on your way to the top! Share this badge with your friends and start climbing up the corporate ladder.” But what do I do with these badges?
4: 30 p.m. My app still won’t open.
5 p.m. Seven hours after enrolling, I’ve progressed to Intern Level Associate, which means I’ve gone absolutely nowhere. Clearly, I’m not cut out to be an intern.
I consider coming back next week for new assignments, but my app still won’t open. Maybe I’ll see if I can interview Christian instead.