A friend of mine who works for a large multinational corporation told me a great story the other day about two interns they have had at work.

Intern number one went out of his way to be helpful and useful. Nothing was too hard for him. He took the initiative to learn things. He happily did everything that was asked of him, however menial or small. When the team he was attached to ran out of things for him to do, he offered to help put other teams. He was genuinely appreciative of the opportunity that was given him. Months after he completed his internship, he was still missed by a large number of people.

Intern number two on the other hand was remembered for one thing. A rhetorical question she posed to the team seriously one day: “Do you realise what the opportunity cost to me is for spending my time here with you?” Much of the work she was asked to do she considered beneath her; the same work the team members were doing themselves. She was not at all missed.

We are the choices we make. Businesses are the choices their management make.