September 27, 2010

What to Do With a Bad Internship: Part 1

Have you ever had an internship that made you feel like you were in The Devil Wears Prada? While that movie was surely (let's hope) a bit of an exaggeration, the bottom of the career ladder in media and entertainment careers can be a little rough sometimes. Odds are, you will have at least one bad experience so here are some tips on how to avoid or get through a bad situation. This section, part one, will focus more on solving the problem and part two, coming soon, will provide some advice on what to do what you just can't take it anymore.

It's Not Them It's You
First, try to take an honest look at yourself and evaluate the effort you've demonstrated so far. Are you taking initiative? Showing up on time? Doing the work you were given without complaint? Communicating effectively? Working to earn your boss's respect? Dressing in an acceptable manner? If things aren't going well and you're not getting the opportunities you'd like to there's a chance it is because you have not demonstrated that you deserve it yet. Before you blame your boss and decide he or she is terrible take a look at yourself and see if there is anywhere you can improve.



Speak Up
Sometimes getting a bit more work and more responsibility can be as simple as asking for it. Obviously you should be polite and respectful but there are some easy ways to do this that don't require a lot of courage. You could ask your boss if they need any help on a project he or she is working on or just ask if there's anything else you can do to help. If you feel that won't be enough you may have to actually come out and say that you'd love the chance to work on something a bit more challenging.

Get An Advocate
As an intern, most programs require you to get college credit. This is good for the employer but it
also means you should have some sort of advisor of professor overseeing your work and progress. If you really are having a tough time, have tried everything you can, and feel like you are just wasting your time on the job you can always have your advisor step in and ask as your advocate. So be sure to work with someone you trust and keep communication flowing so your advisor knows and can try to help if you aren't learning anything.
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