I am a summer intern in a technical role at a company. I have one project that I'm working on, in which my manager gives me tasks/things to add to the site and I complete them. However, my manager is currently gone on a three week vacation and didn't tell me what I should work on before he left. So far, I've added some functionality and improved minor things on the site, but I've run out of things to do.

How should I figure out what to work on? My manager returns in a week, but right now I feel I'm just wasting my time (and the company's time).

  • 1
    Have you tried asking a coworker? Commented Aug 17, 2018 at 20:01
  • @Dukeling I asked one coworker, she said she'd see if there was anything for me to work on, but that was last week and she hasn't gotten back to me yet
    – zanahorias
    Commented Aug 17, 2018 at 20:03

1 Answer 1


I would ask your Manager's reports (i.e. the permanent employees on their team) about what other tasks you can do while your Manager is away. Explain the situation to them. If they haven't got any specific tasks they can easily delegate, they may at least allow you to shadow them for a while, so you can learn from what they do.

Alternatively, is your Manager checking e-mails while they are away?

If all else fails, perhaps do some background reading or research in an area that is relevant to what the team is doing. I recommend showing some initiative, rather than just sitting on your hands for a week.

  • Thank you, these are good suggestions! I'm not sure if my manager is answering emails, but he's on a family vacation in Europe so I would assume not.
    – zanahorias
    Commented Aug 17, 2018 at 20:05
  • 1
    @zanahorias If he has work email on his phone it is likely that he may be receiving emails. It's worth a shot to send him a short email.
    – Peter M
    Commented Aug 17, 2018 at 20:10
  • @PeterM do you think that would be annoying though?
    – zanahorias
    Commented Aug 17, 2018 at 20:12
  • 4
    @zanahorias If he is regularly checking his work emails on his phone, he won't be annoyed. If he is not checking his emails then he won't see it, so he won't be annoyed - in which case you go to option B of asking colleagues.
    – Peter M
    Commented Aug 17, 2018 at 20:15

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