We told you summer internships are a great chance to ‘work and learn’ and a path to a wonderful career. Now midway into your coveted internship in a dream company, you find yourself thinking if a summer internship is really all that a big deal. You probably are feeling dejected because you find yourself in one of these situations –
- Assigned no work, you spend 8 hours doing nothing
- You’re assigned mundane jobs like data entry
- You are the only intern, surrounded by older colleagues
- Swamped with work, you feel overburdened and drained
- You’re assigned work you weren’t hired for
Don’t worry! These situations are quite common and it’s not yet the right time to give up on your internship. You can still salvage it with these tips –
Communicate to seniors:
Whether in a startup or MNC you will have a designated mentor or manager who is supposed to monitor your internship. Speak to the person and communicate your issue with them. Letting them know of the issue right now might solve it for you, because there is a chance they are simply unaware of your problem.
Provide a solution:
Despite their best intentions, your mentor might be very busy or might lack the initiative to figure out a solution for you. Instead of just putting forth the problem, try to give some options that they can work on. They will appreciate your effort and approve your ideas. For example, if you are not given any work, suggest that you can shadow a manager or help them research any particular work they may have. Speak to them again about your skills and what you can do.
Don’t blame the mentor or company:
In many offices, especially MNCs and even established startups, internships are HR initiatives to build campus engagement and there is no possibility of real work that interns can do. This is the reason why several managers hesitate in assigning work to interns, work around it and get creative with what you can do! Blaming the work culture or manager will not help matters. Sometimes, even in a startup, the staff is so swamped with work themselves, they cannot mentor you effectively.
Network at office
If you have a lot of time on hand then make sure you spend it talking to your colleagues. You can spend time at the cafeteria or even at a chai break at the nearby ‘tapri’! You will notice that seniors are always keen on sharing their knowledge and experiences if you approach them.
Make sure you talk to them and follow up with a LinkedIn request. Be careful to stay professional, don’t add them on Facebook! The idea is to develop your professional network; they might come handy in giving you recommendations or guide you after your college.
Reflect on your choices:
If you are feeling bored with the work you are doing or not excited, think back on what your expectations were at the time of joining. Think of why you feel so, because this experience will impact on your career decisions. It might be that the company is small but the same job in a bigger company might excite you. Or vice versa! You should not give up on a work role just because of one bad internship experience. Talk to someone in the industry, your seniors or professors to get an idea of what went wrong.
Remind yourself of all those Hollywood movies about interns and their hardships! You might not have to get the coffee, but certainly filing away documents or entering data is not a bad task.
You can learn so much from everything you do, even something simple as data entry will teach you about the company’s customers, processes and more!