School is back in session and most of you are prepping for Spring classes and/or internships. One of the most popular internship questions I get is, “how can I manage a part-time job and internship at the same time?” Below are a few tips to help you effectively manage both this Spring:
1. Set a Clear Schedule. Even if your internship is virtual, set a schedule with your employer. Leaving things too loose will make it difficult to manage expectations. If your internship is unpaid, you should only be interning 12-20 hours per week (part-time). If your employer doesn’t put together a schedule for you, take the initiative to make your own, and run it by the employer for approval. Let them know you are really enjoying your time at the internship and you’d like to manage a part-time job as well (for financial reasons) so you’d love to put together a regular schedule.
2. Stay Late and Go Above and Beyond When You Can. Since you will be managing an internship and a part-time job, take the opportunity to stay late or go above and beyond when possible. For example, you are interning on a Wednesday and for some reason you don’t have to go into work that evening. Normally, you have to leave your internship right at 3PM to make it to your job on time. Since you don’t have to dash out today, take it as an opportunity to stay late and intern an hour or so later. Show the employer that you really do take the position seriously.
3. Plan Ahead and Have A Work Bag With You. When I interned in LA, I had a part-time job at Islands Fine Burgers. I did have a car in LA so every day after my internship, I’d go directly to work at the restaurant. It was imperative that I was organized and always had my work stuff with me. In this case, that included my slip-proof shoes, safari-themed shirt, black pants, make-up bag, and hair brush. In fact, on days that I had to go to work after my internship, I would try to just wear black pants to the office to minimize the time it took me to change. If I wasn’t prepared for my job, it would throw my entire day off. If you have a car for your internship, you can leave a bag there will all of your work stuff. If you are working in a big city, I suggest taking an additional bag with you to work that always has your work stuff. This way you are always prepared!
4. Stay Results Oriented At Both Positions. You clearly have a lot going on this Fall. You want to stay as focused as possible at both your job and your internship so that you can get your work done and eventually get some rest! When you go into both your job and your internship, think about what results you need to achieve. Perhaps at your internship, you need to finish drafting five social media posts by the end of the day. At your job, you need to do your restaurant hosting duties and you need to restock all of the salt and pepper shakers. At the beginning of your shifts, put together a plan of attack and stay focused until you are done. Try to save the small talk with the people around you for afterwards. Keep asking yourself, “What is the goal here? What am I trying to achieve today?”
5. Have a Calendar System. Most of you are either using a Lilly Pulitzer Planner or your phones as a calendar system. These both work great. Whatever the method, make sure you are using something and have it with you at all times. If you need to attend an extra orientation session for your internship or an intern night out pops up – write it down. If your job schedules you to work an extra Sunday – write it down. Don’t pretend you’ll remember everything (I used to do that). You are going to be juggling lots this summer.Keep great notes.
6. De-Stress When Possible. To avoid burnout, make sure you are scheduling some time every week for you to do something for you. If you spend your waking hours at your internship, at your job, and with friends – when do you have time for yourself? Carve out time to go to the gym, to go on walks, or just to relax and listen to music. Make sure that you give yourself time to unplug and take that time very seriously. We all think we can do it all and thrive on being busy but our bodies and minds need a little bit of downtime.
And finally – you’ve got this! You can definitely manage a job and an internship and you can be successful at it. For more internship tips, please read my book ALL WORK, NO PAY.