Internships are a great way to kick start your career and open doors through networking. They also give you your first experiences in your career field- experiences and skills that will you will utilize throughout the rest of your career. Internships are invaluable experience, which is why so many students take on internships even if they’re unpaid. What if your internship isn’t worth it? If you find yourself doing some of the following things in your internship it may be time to reconsider if it’s worth your time and money to be there.
One sign that your internship isn’t turning out to be as worth it as you thought is if your boss is making you do a lot of menial work. You may find yourself being more of an errand person for coffee runs and making photo copies. Sure, you have to do your fair share of this type of work, but if that’s what you’re doing most of the time, then this internship isn’t worth it. It definitely isn’t worth it if all of your errand running is unappreciated. Not receiving a simple thank you from your boss for doing your best every day, even in something as small as getting their coffee, shows you aren’t being appreciated. If you aren’t being given a project to work on or any work of value that you can gain real experience from, then it’s not worth it. You can do menial work elsewhere and probably get paid for it too.
If you are given a project, but you’ve been working at it for over a month now, then you may be in the middle of a bad internship. Your boss should be giving you multiple projects to keep you busy. A good boss will want you to be constantly working instead of sitting around bored working on the same tedious task for weeks. When your boss gives you different tasks to work on, they’re giving you more work to use and gain experience on. The more you take ownership of multiple projects the more you can showcase your work. These achievements will also look good on your resume.
Another sign your internship isn’t worth it is if you hardly ever see your boss. Part of what makes internships a great experience is learning the ins and outs of your industry through someone that has years of experience in it such as your boss. If you don’t have a good relationship with your boss and find yourself only communicating through distant and cryptic emails, then it isn’t worth it.
Being holed up in your cubicle and working on your own for most of your internship is also a bad sign. Your internships should offer you the chance to experience what it’s like to work in every department of the office. That way you can familiarize yourself with the different roles in the industry. If you’re just hidden in your cubicle you won’t get to see the big picture of the industry. You also won’t be making any networking connections.