An internship is a once in a lifetime experience for a young person. After graduating college, the young professional, with stars in their eyes and naivete running through their veins, wants to get experience in their respective industry so they apply for an internship. Just two or three days into it, that intern will understand first-hand that everything they thought they knew was just wrong.
Internships have gotten a bad reputation over the past few years. Interns have filed lawsuits against their employers, while politicians are working hard to ensure unpaid internships are no longer in existence. The latter is completely idiotic. With that being said, young interns need to soon realize that all the things they were taught in school about their profession isn’t 100 percent accurate. In fact, you may ask: was that internship a waste of time?
When the going gets tough, you just want to make an exit from your internship. Instead of learning about the industry and gaining new skills, you’re performing mundane tasks and getting people coffee. You didn’t sign up for this. So how do you know it’s time to quit your internship? If these thoughts are rummaging through your mind then that’s the sign in itself.
Here are nine reasons it’s time to quit your internship:
Has Your Internship Become Unsafe or Threatened?
Depending upon what field you’re in, your internship can suddenly be transformed into a dangerous position. If you’re interning at a landscaping company then you could suddenly risk losing a finger. If you’re interning at a roofing firm then you could threaten the health of your back. Now, these types of internships are a lot more dangerous than interning at a white-collar job, but even that comes with its dangers. How many people have arthritis or back pain just sitting at a desk eight hours a day typing away?
Your Personal Values Are Becoming Compromised
Is your company doing something that jeopardizes and contradicts your personal values? If so then it could be time to leave before you get too deep into your internship. Your personal values are very important and they could never be compromised for anything or anybody, let alone an unpaid internship. When the private firm is on the cusp of doing this then air your grievances to your handler and explain to them that you have to leave before it’s too late.
Everyone is Disrespecting You
Being an intern is like being the new kid at school or entering your junior year of high school. Everyone will pick on you, insult you, bully you and overall disrespect you. On your very first day of interning, most of your peers will refrain from even looking your way, unless they want you to get their coffee. Well, not all internships are like this, but there’s an abundance out there. If you’re being disrespected then you have two options: stand up for yourself or quit. Have some self-respect!
The Company is Taking Advantage of Your Internship
There are plenty of stories out there that entail companies taking advantage of free labor, er, internships. Instead of fulfilling the responsibilities of the internship, the company will have you go above and beyond of your intern position. This violates the internship agreement, but many interns will do this because they want to prove their worth and perhaps get hired by the firm. Here’s the kicker: the company won’t probably hire you.
Business is Under Criminal Investigation
If the business you’re interning at is suddenly facing a criminal investigation or is in the news for illicit behavior then leave right away. There is no reason for you to stay there and delay the inevitable. If a company is facing such hellacious charges then don’t bother trying to garner experience. Not only could this compromise your values (see above), you also won’t be gaining any experience or learning anything new as everyone will be focused on the allegations.
Your Skills and Abilities Are Being Unused
You’re a smart person. You spent a lot of time at school honing your craft and perfecting your skills. You want to use this special skillset at a new job and do something meaningful. Well, don’t expect that at either an internship or in the real world. Here’s something you’ll quickly understand: your skills and abilities will go unused and you will quickly become bored. This is something you’ll learn in the school of hard knocks when you get older.
Working When You’re Not at Work
Indeed, this isn’t just relegated to the world of internships. The newest trend in the asphalt jungle is to work when you’re not even at work. Thanks to digital technology and mobile devices, we can work anywhere we want. This means that our work-life balance is eviscerated. When you’re an intern and the firm wants you to complete some design project, they’ll expect you to be available anytime and to do the work on your off time. They’ll likely float the idea of being hired as a full-time employee in your face, much like a donkey and a carrot.
Daydreaming of Being Somewhere Else
Unfortunately, if you’re already daydreaming of being somewhere else when you’re at your internship then it’s already a sign you have to leave. This symptom of daydreaming is something that is only felt by older, disgruntled workers who aren’t achieving their dreams of working in an entirely different field or writing that Great American Novel (Billy and the Tyrannosaurus). Instead, you’re just sitting at a desk, beginning a new routine and finishing tasks that will just need to be done tomorrow. Oh, what a life!
You Don’t Want the Boss’s Job
The goal of most workers is to achieve the highest position in the company. Many Wal-Mart cashiers have risen through the ranks and are in executive positions. Although this is hard to achieve, it isn’t something you really want to do anyway. When you observe the office and look at all of the responsibilities that your boss has, the one thought that comes to mind is: “I would never want his job and I just want to quit!” You begin to cry.
The reason why this is a sign that you should quit is because then you won’t go above and beyond at the job and you’ll refrain from being dedicated to the job. A lot of workers that employ these characteristics do so because they want to be head honcho, earning six-figure salaries and garnering all of the perks that come with being the man.
In the end, it’s imperative that you do not quit your internship in the heat of the moment. You have to make a thoughtful and rational decision upon giving your notice that you’re leaving the internship. Storming out of the office, swearing like a sailor won’t get you anywhere, except terrible references. Before quitting, sit down and think why you don’t like it and if quitting is your only option. You’ll be thankful you did. We all make bad decisions when we’re raging.
Have you ever quit an internship before? Let us know how it happened in the comments section…