Unlike designer leather goods, not all internship programs are created equally. Some internship programs will have you slaving away all day in a fashion closet with little room to breathe, let alone take a bathroom break. Other internship programs will have you prancing around town like a pack mule bouncing from magazine delivery center to a showroom to the office. The worst internship programs have you sit idly for hours with nothing to do but submit to social media. What all of these specific, stereotypical internship programs have in common is the lack of responsibilities offered to the intern. If you find yourself stuck in one of these disappointing internships, there is a way to get more responsibilities to make your internship as fruitful as possible.
Put your thinking cap on
If your supervisor isn’t giving you projects, that doesn’t mean there are no projects to be done. Take it upon yourself to put your thinking cap on and create your own projects. Of course, coming up with these projects is easier said than done. How do you know what your boss wants you to do if he or she isn’t telling you? Take a second and evaluate the company. What’s important to them, and how are they ultimately profitable? If the answer to these questions is still a mystery after a good think, don’t be afraid to simply ask your supervisor and coworkers what problems they have that you could help with. Even if sharpening pencils is your new project, you’ll be a superstar intern for having an enthusiastic work ethic.
It’s very possible that there simply isn’t a lot to do in your department. It happens. Instead of accepting this, reach out to other departments (with your boss’ permission,) and see if there is anything you can help them out with. Doing this will make you valuable to the entire company and give you more responsibilities all at the same time!
Get your Scooby Doo on!
Sometimes downtime isn’t accompanied with downtime activities. If this occurs, a great activity to create for yourself is to research the competition. Sending your boss a Word doc of all of their competition’s recent projects and activities will not only make you look like a rockstar, it’s a huge contribution to help the company be successful. If you’re concerned with their success, they’re concerned with you.
The last resort
When all else fails, ask your boss for more responsibilities. It is very possible your boss has absolutely no idea you have so little to do. How you phrase this is crucial, though. Never open by saying you’re bored and have nothing to do. Respectfully restate some of your strengths you brought up in your interview and ask how if there is anyway you could utilize those skills to help them. It’s a win-win!
Ever created your own responsibilities? Share your story by commenting below!