How to Remain Upbeat When Your Internship Is Chaotic

Fri, Apr 13, 2012

Internship Information

Interns don’t always get the respect that they deserve. Being that many of them are in office environments where a lot of the staff knows that not only are they there temporarily, but that they are working free of charge (or with a very low stipend) as well, sometimes they can feel underappreciated and overworked. After a few weeks of being everyone’s unofficial errand boy or Girl Friday, it can be a bit taxing on the morale; it can be hard to remain upbeat in the midst of a chaotic atmosphere.

If you can relate to that entire paragraph, the good news is that there are ways to keep the energy upbeat and the perspective positive. Here are three of them.

Purpose to be Positive

No one is responsible for our happiness other than ourselves, so when it comes to being positive and upbeat, that’s a decision that you need to make every single day before you walk into the office. If you’re working next to someone that you don’t particularly care for or if the job is not turning out to be what you expected, your attitude is what will make things either a miserable experience or a series of teaching tools on how to be patient while doing what may not necessarily be on your list of favorite things to do. For each day that you are professional and efficient, make it a point to reward yourself by either taking a walk during lunch (to get a break), having a scoop of your favorite ice cream with friends after work or even taking a long bubble bath. No matter what is going on, the mind is a powerful thing and so if you’ve determined in your mind to have a good internship, guess what? You will.

Have a Selective Memory

Even if you were a hired employee, there would still be days when you’d have to talk yourself out of calling in because the truth of the matter is that working in any kind of environment where there are different personalities, over time, takes its toll. Some of the biggest office dramas arise, not because someone had a bad day, but because either they had a series of them or they took it out on someone who decided to hold a grudge rather than let it go. When it comes to making the best of your time during your internship, there will be moments when you’ll have to remember the wise words of Dr. Phil and ask yourself, “Do I want to be happy or do I want to be right?” If someone put some papers on your desk to file without asking you, try and let that go. Your boss promised you a lunch meeting and they had to cancel at the last minute? Things happen. You don’t want to be a doormat (and so if you’re consistently unhappy, take that up with your supervisor or human resources), but an internship is a perfect environment to learn two valuable life lessons: sometimes you need to have a selective memory and you always need to choose your battles wisely.

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

Here’s the thing about an internship that, in a lot of cases, makes the experience exceptional: it’s temporary. Sometimes we’re so caught up in the chaos of what we’re doing or what’s going on around us that we lose focus on why we’re there to begin with. In your case, it’s something that’s getting you just one step closer to your graduation (which means your degree) and ultimately a job! So if, for instance, you want to be a fashion designer and you’ve been spending an entire semester folding clothes, answering phones and hanging up store signage, remember that it won’t be this way forever. Everything has a season, reason and purpose and in this scenario, it’s to transition you from college student to college graduate with employment experience…thanks, in part, to your internship!

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