Internships are meant to be meaningful learning experiences that you can take with you all throughout your blossoming career. You will want to make a good impression and be respectful to everyone you meet. However, there are times you may feel as though you are being taken advantage of. Learn when it is time to put your foot down and be assertive without burning important business bridges. Here are appropriate times that it is okay to say no to an internship request.
Working Unreasonable Hours
As with a regular job, you should be assigned designated hours that you are required to work during your internship. Even though some projects can occasionally run late, you should never be expected to regularly work extreme hours. If you happen to notice a pattern of these obligations placed upon you, it’s time to address the situation, especially if you also have coursework you need to balance. Recant what hours were agreed upon at the initial point of the internship with your superior. Although you may not want to make waves, don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself. Even though you are not a full time employee, it’s never profitable to allow bad trends to run their course.
Too Much Busy Work
The term “intern” is a widely used stereotype for the person who does all the busy work and runs meaningless errands. In the real world of internships, companies are held liable to deliver a hands on experience in the industry that will benefit both parties involved, especially if the intern is receiving academic credit, is unpaid, or both. Unless you are interning to be a personal assistant, there is no reason that you should constantly be treated like one. When an employer is not meeting their half of the bargain, there needs to be some concessions made.
In order to remedy the problem, you must bring your concerns to the attention of management. Politely state that you would like to feel more challenged in your work and are willing to step things up to learn what you need to make the internship a success. Employers value a hard worker who isn’t afraid to step up to the plate.
If you are ever uncomfortable completing a task because you fear it will cross some legal boundaries, stop in your tracks. Don’t be the puppet that does someone’s dirty work. First you will need to evaluate the task and determine whether it is an illegal practice. Next you must bring your concerns to your superiors. Simply state that you think that the task is illegal and that you don’t want to do anything wrong that will hurt the company name. Chances are there was a mistake made in the assignment. If indeed your suspicions are true and the task was no mistake, take the matter to the proper authorities to prevent future interns from falling into the same trap.
Stand up for yourself gracefully during your internship. Talk with your manager on a regular basis so that situations can be diffused before any trouble arises. You will gain more respect by being forthcoming versus slandering the company name.
Visit www.bridge.jobs to search for internships in Rhode Island and be assertive yet subtle on your next internship assignment.