I have tried to write positive things on this blog, but let me make an exception for this one. I have been called a perpetual whinger for a while now, and that is always associated to one thing. My work at the Bank.
Doing an internship in an office for 6 months is a risky business because there are only so much thing you can do to secure your job satisfaction for the period you are there. To start off with, you seek guide from other students that have spent their time in that company. If their experiences have been great, then you will be more incline to that company. But don’t be too sure yet, especially if it is a big company, because the experience of someone in one lively group maybe quite different to experience of someone in a morbid one.
I think there are four things to look for:
- Location. This is the easiest to pin down with little common sense. If it will take you 2 hours to get to the office then forget about it, travelling takes not just your time but also your energy. It’s true that you can read books on train/bus but if just being in any vehicle makes you dizzy and sick (like me), maybe it’s not such a great idea. Rule of thumb, get office that’s not too far from your house because your life is not just about work (and uni!), you need to make it practical for yourself to enjoy life parallel to your internship.
- Perks. I like W3Schools‘ motto: The best things in life are free. Perks can range from free cokes to free interstate travel (or overseas I think, even though I’ve never known anyone in BIT who was that lucky). They are nice to have, but not essential to make you happy at work.
- Work. This is the factor that will grab the most of your time being there. What kind of work you will be doing there? Each role gives you different type of work: some very technical roles require you to code as a developer, or as an IT architect; some very business role requires you to create documents such as requirements documents, process documents etc. The range is wide and it really depends on what you want to get out of you internship.
- Do you want to experience what you have studied at uni?
- Do you want to learn something completely new?
- Do you want to be comfortable at what you can do already and pursue more in-depth experience?
These are hard questions, do think about it before you contact anyone in the company. Being flexible about the type of work is great and highly necessary, but you will only be in internship for a short period of time, might as well use the most of it. If you do not know what you like, at least tell them what you do not like.
- People. This is the most important factor in making your stay in the company enjoyable and delightful. Once you step into a company, you are their employee and they have control over you (at least your mon-fri, 9am-5pm). Most of my daily whinges (coming soon) are about one person I work with. Yes, just one person. Many people I know are very accomodating so they are fine with an intern picking what kind of work the intern wants. But it is usually a combination of factors that makes the situation a lot more complicated (read: office-politics) and makes it hard to get around the bureaucracy. Knowing good people makes the politics bearable and can turn into your advantage. When you ask other people about the company, ask about WHO is good in there, the type of work come seconds. Once you are stuck with a bad lot, it is hard to get out without any violence.
Now, my whinging (if you still bothered to read this far, sorry for this looong entry). I got the Bank as my first preference. I got in to the group I wanted to, but not the right team within the group. The sort of work I got is alright (bits and pieces of process documentation and some access db) but I feel it is not enough to make me excited. Plus there are not much deadlines to pump my adrenaline. Everyday it’s a drag to go to work, so at first I tried to do my uni work at work. That didn’t work out long because my guilt accumulated.
I have spoken to my manager many times about not having enough work but he did not seem to care. It has been 2 months now and things hasn’t changed much since first week. The peak of my annoyance was just recently. I talked to him (after so much of anxiety) and tried to explain to him in the most diplomatic way I possibly can and managed to make him promise to do something about it the next day – which was yesterday. But nothing happened.
sad and pouting