What if You Hate Your Internship?
Many of you moved to big cities last week to start your Summer 2013 Internships -- and it hasn’t been easy. You've spent days and days in orientations, training classes, and have had all kinds of new tasks thrown at you. Some of you have survived and are excited to continue -- and others are nervous and feeling a bit uncertain.
There will be some of you who HATE your internship -- its the nature of the working world. But don’t worry! I do have some tips for those of you who aren’t sure you can withstand another day at the company. Here we go:
1. Give it Two Weeks. I can’t stand change. I used to cry when my parents would get a new car! I totally understand the awkward feeling that is a new internship...a new environment and new people. But I also know that it will all be okay! Please give the internship two weeks, work through the tough feelings, and then you can make a calculated decision about the rest of your summer.
2. A Challenge is a Good Thing. If your internship is HARD -- it’s okay! That is a good thing. If you aren’t getting things right away -- that’s okay! You want a challenge, you want a learning curve; what you DON’T want is to feel uncomfortable.
3. Uncomfortable is a Buzz Word. Sometimes, I can be a baby in new situations and feel slightly uncomfortable. However, there is a difference between feeling uncomfortable because I’m in a new environment and feeling uncomfortable because I feel like I’m being spoken to inappropriately or being taken advantage of. The second you feel uncomfortable (in the latter way) you must find someone to speak to. You can discuss what you’re feeling with an internship coordinator, HR rep, parent, or with your career center. But in some way, you must speak up.
4. Have a Conversation With Your Boss. If you are completely bored at your internship and just not enjoying yourself, give it two weeks. After that two week period, make a list of everything you enjoy doing at the company and everything you’d like to do at the company. Ask your internship coordinator if you can have a five-minute conversation. Be very polite, tell them you enjoy the internship and are grateful for the opportunity, BUT there are a few things you’d love to be involved with (if possible). Give them a few ideas and tasks that you’d be interested in. Don’t be afraid to ask if you can observe meetings as that can be a great learning tool.
5. Discuss With Someone Ahead of Time. If you plan on leaving your internship after you’ve started, I suggest discussing with someone you trust first (mentor, parent, fellow intern -- even me!). You should get a second opinion before you just leave. If you feel comfortable discussing the situation with the internship coordinator, go ahead.
6. Leave the Company Over the Phone or In-Person (If You Must Leave). Never email or text an employer that you are quitting the internship. You need to face the issue and call them or speak to them in-person. Stay polite, be honest, and things will be fine. Make sure you thank the employer for their time and let them know their time is valuable. At this point, they’ve probably spent a significant part of their time training you and supervising you, so you want to make sure that you come across grateful. Just like you wouldn't break up with someone over email -- don’t leave your internship over email.