Avoiding Boredom in an Internship

Yawn. Is the work you’re doing at your internship really dull and tedious? Or, worse yet, do you currently have nothing to do at all? Yes, that “paying your dues” part of the career is known for being rather lack-luster but here’s some advice to get the most of your downtime.

Are you bored because you’re only given tasks that are monotonous and not at all challenging? I hate to break it to you, but the #1 job of the intern is usually to do the “mindless” work that other people don’t want to do. Accept your task with a smile and make sure you do an amazing job of it. If you can’t do the simple, mindless assignments correctly, there’s no way your manager will trust you with more complicated ones and you’ll be stuck only doing the boring stuff for the rest of your internship there. If you prove that you can more than handle the easy tasks, chances are that you will be given progressively more challenging tasks down the road. I have actually heard other employees say things like “I want to have the intern do this but he couldn’t even do that other thing I assigned him correctly”. Avoid screwing yourself over by doing even the easy assignments WELL.

Sometimes you may find yourself bored at your internship because you really have nothing to do. If this is the case, here are some ways to keep busy:

  1. Ask your managers / fellow coworkers if there’s anything you can help them with. It’s possible they thought you were busy with other people’s assignments and therefore decided not to give you something new to do. If nothing else, they will at least appreciate your initiative to take on new tasks and help out.
  2. If there’s really nothing you could be doing, try looking up online references for things that could be helpful to your position like latest industry news or a tutorial on some industry standard software you’ve never tried (you’d be amazed how much you can learn about a program just by looking through online tutorials and help forums).

Whatever you do, avoid falling asleep at your desk or looking like you’re goofing off. Stay attentive and focused and remember that this internship is a small though important step to reaching your ultimate career goal. 🙂

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