If you choose to intern for a small company, your responsibilities could have a considerable impact on the firm’s bottom line.
Starting a new internship is exciting! You are now part of a company, and even though it’s a small role, you can still make an impact. The first few days will be exhilarating and new but if you find yourself dreading the office several weeks later, it may be time to make a change. Here are seven tips to handle speaking up and talking with your supervisor about your concerns:
1. Don’t be afraid.
If you are not learning from this internship experience and dislike coming in every day, it is OK to speak up. Supervisors will not know that you are unhappy if you do not tell them. Continuing an internship that you are not enjoying is a waste of both your time and theirs since you likely are not putting in enthusiastic effort.
2. Ask yourself a few questions.
Before even approaching your supervisor, try to figure out what it is that you think is not working at the internship. Are you learning anything from this experience? What are your favorite and least favorite aspects? Making a list will help you see where your interests lie and will help you clearly express your concerns with your supervisor.
3. Make an appointment to speak with your supervisor.
Do not bring up your issues during a busy afternoon. Instead, set up a time with your supervisor, in advance, when you expect that there will be less activity in the office. This will give you time to talk without disrupting important work or meetings.
4. Do not complain.
When you talk with your supervisor do not whine or complain. Instead explain to them why you do not feel this internship is the right fit for you. This will help them to better understand your concerns and not see you as a whining child. Also, they may have some suggestions or ideas for different tasks that would better suit your interests or suggest that you help with another department.
5. Say “thank you.”
Regardless of your supervisor’s response, always thank them for their time. Although they may not be able to offer any new tasks or recommend you to another department, a thank you is necessary. They gave you their time, and time is valuable.
6. Weigh the pros and cons.
Remember that all internships are a learning experience, whether they are positive or negative. Often, an internship that you do not love can teach you more about what interests you. In effect, it will help give you a clearer path toward your future career. The great thing about internships is that they are short-term experiences, so at most they will last a few months.
7. Make a decision.
After talking to your advisor you may have a better sense of what you want to do: stay at the office, switch departments or even leave entirely. You should never simply quit an internship outright. However, if you feel that you are being taken advantage of or are not learning or are wasting your time and money commuting, you may want to consider ending your internship.
Deciding to leave an internship early is not recommended, but if you truly feel that this is not the right fit for you — even after talking to your advisor — it is OK to leave.
Remember that interning is just as much about you as it is about the company. Make sure that you are learning from the experience and giving all of your energy to your daily tasks. If you feel that something is not working for you or you would be better suited in a different department, use these tips to help you make the switch!
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