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Expect to encounter at least one of these “sticky situations” during your internship. First, take a step back, reflect upon the issue, and see if there is any way you can change your actions to alleviate the situation. If you find yourself needing further advice or in a potentially unethical or illegal situation, do not hesitate to contact your faculty supervisor or Career Services.

“Boring” work Remember, projects that appear boring may be critical to the company and an important learning opportunity for you. Try to take a routine task, and do something a little differently with the goal of finding some way to improve the process. You just might find a better way to accomplish the task, but even if it isn’t an improvement, you’ll probably come out of it with a renewed interest.

Projects you are able to finish quickly If appropriate, suggest a project you could work on. If there is still little work of you, use the time to learn from co-workers, ask to sit in on meetings, observe the interactions of those around you and read workrelated materials.

Feeling ignored Being ignored is no fun, but oftentimes, it's not about you. It's more likely that your site supervisor is absorbed in trying to solve big problems in little time, or your co-worker is overwhelmed with an upcoming deadline. Scope out why he/she has no time for you by asking your colleagues – they may have insight of which you are not aware. If you don’t get the answers you feel you need, ask them directly. No matter how you approach it, getting in front of the problem will release a lot of tension on you and possibly the other party.

Sickness or family emergency (Needing to leave) If you are to become especially ill or a family emergency arises during your internship, be sure to immediately communicate with your site supervisor, faculty supervisor and, if needed, Human Resources.

Problems with Co-workers In order to mitigate a potential workplace drama, ask to meet with him/her outside of the office. Pick a time when you're both free to concentrate on the problem and its resolution. Discuss the disagreement professionally and with tact, avoiding irrelevant personal attacks on character. If a resolution has not been reached, consider calling in a mediator, or presenting the conflict to your supervisor. If conflict arises due to sexual, racial, or ethnic issues, or if someone behaves inappropriately, that's not conflict, it's harassment. Take action and discuss the problem with your supervisor or Human Resources.

internship does not meet expectations; Dislike Job/Industry First off, don’t dwell on the negative. Although the internship might have been downright awful, avoid burning bridges, no matter how terrible the situation. Instead, think about what the experience taught you. You’ve likely learned some very valuable lessons that can help you determine your ideal future career path. For example:  What did you like/dislike about your supervisor(s)? What will you look for in a future boss?  Was the culture of the organization right for you? If it wasn’t, what made you uncomfortable?  Look back at the assignments and tasks you had at the internship. What did/didn’t you enjoy about those tasks? What types of projects were the most interesting to you? Where do your passions lie?

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“Go fer” work As a member of a team, you will want to help with routine tasks occasionally, but you don’t want them to become your permanent job. A good learning contract should prevent this problem, but if you feel your work activities are not challenging enough, consult with your site supervisor. Make sure that if you ask for additional assignments, you have demonstrated your capacity to handle them.

Pressure Meeting deadlines is your responsibility, but if the pressure to finish assignments on time begins to overwhelm you, let your site supervisor know. The quality of your work is as important as the time element. The best planning can fall through, so don’t be afraid to say you can’t finish on time or think that the project is too much for you to handle.

Overtime Your commitment to your supervisor and the organization may demand that you put in the extra work. Consider that working extra hours may help you learn more by experiencing roles or situations not otherwise available. However, you are an independent person, and everyone has a personal life to maintain. If you feel confused about work hours and time, talk to your site supervisor and negotiate a solution that takes into account both your needs and those of the organization.

Discrimination or Harassment If you feel you are truly being discriminated against because of your age, race or gender, consider the problem from all angles before you consult with your site supervisor, but don’t let the problem fester.

Rusk Building, 3rd Floor  936.468.3305  

Sticky Situations, Internships  
Sticky Situations, Internships  

“Boring” work If appropriate, suggest a project you could work on. If there is still little work of you, use the time to learn from co-worke...