Working an internship you despise can be a drag. There’s no better way to put it. Sometimes, it does not matter how thoroughly you have researched a career field, a company, a boss, a position. Things can go downhill fast, and you can feel like there is little you can do about it.
And often, there is nothing you can do about it. You are stuck in this terrible internship and cannot leave; either because it is too late for you to switch positions, you cannot find a new position, or you must have the position in orders to graduate. There can be nothing left to do except grin and bear it. While you might be inwardly suffering, there are ways to make the best of the situation and still have a positive experience despite major setbacks. Read on to learn how to deal with an internship you despise!
You Are Not Doing the Job You Expected
You have been accepted to work with a great company in a great city in a field you would dearly like to work in … only to find that you are not going to be doing the job you were expecting to do. You wanted to learn about directing, but they have you working in the box office; you wanted the opportunity to write great articles, but they have you working on graphic designs (which you really do not know how to do); you wanted to be making a difference in this company and the world at large, but they just have you getting coffee. Even though your bubble may be burst, it is not the end of the world!
This is your opportunity to learn something new about your field — it is certainly related to what you actually wanted to do. Learning new things is almost never a bad choice. Experience brings knowledge which brings about innovation. Think about how you can utilize what you are actually learning with what you actually want to do. Find a way to make sure what you are learning can be useful to you. Connecting back to a previous example, you may have wanted to be a writer, but having graphic design skills will make your writing life so much easier and boost your desirability to a potential employer.
And you can use every opportunity to learn about what you were originally interested in. Volunteer to do more tasks related to what you are most passionate about. Doing your work, doing more work and doing that work well is in your favor. You already have a great opportunity to learn, so do not let it be wasted. Be enthusiastic and learn as much as you can. That way when you get out into the world and need a real job, you will be more than prepared.
You Are Not Being Treated Fairly
This happens to the best of us, and it can be hard to think of alternatives to dealing with this situation other than quitting. If you can, do not let your opportunity go to waste. There are plenty of tactics you can try first to fix the situation.
If you are having issues with a specific person or a boss, minimize your contact with that person. Go out of your way, not to avoid them, but to make sure that you do not have to interact with them more than is necessary for you to do your job. Do your best to avoid being put into uncomfortable situations. Keep all communication professional and have records of what you are being told or what is being said to you. Try to do the best job you can without breaking the rules. Succeed in a way that calls for no complaint and will not call negative attention to yourself by whoever is not treating you fairly.
Of course, every situation is individual and comes with its own set of circumstances. Many people take advantage of those in internship positions so you want to keep yourself safe. If you feel uncomfortable, threatened, or unsafe, then speak to the HR Department, quit, or do what is best for you. In the end, your physical and emotional well-being is what is most important.
You Do Not Enjoy the Work
Internships are a great way to dip our toes into the water. It’s a way to see if the job we are interested in doing is actually what we want to be doing, once we are out in the real world trying to get a real job. Often, you find you are more than capable of doing the job you love, or if not capable, at least happy to continue learning so that you will be capable of doing the job you love. But often enough, you might also find that what you thought you wanted to do with your life holds little interest for you. It is definitely NOT the field you want to go into.
There might be nothing wrong with the internship. You are capable of doing the work, you admire the mission of the company, and the people there treat you well. But you still despise your internship because despite being capable of doing the work, you do not enjoy doing it.
You made the commitment to do the work though, so you need to find a way to get through it. If you really, truly hate what you are doing and cannot bear it, quit. Otherwise, find ways to make the work bearable. Do what you need to do and find ways to incorporate things you do enjoy into the work. See if by tweaking your experience, you can make that internship that much more bearable.
Do not feel bad or lose heart over this discovery. That is why internships are so useful in the first place. This way, you do not waste any more time training for a job you do not want, for a position that is much more permanent. Figuring it out is part of what internships are for.
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