In order to finish my bachelor's degree, I am required by my university to complete an internship. During the internship, I worked in a company.

After the internship, there is some sort of write-up phase for students to write their bachelors thesis. It is customary for students to do the majority of the writing within the institution the internship was done in.

My writing phase has just started, and presumably, there won't be any problems for me to finish my thesis. I have some trouble, however, with the company i am working/writing in:

My internship was paid (not very good, but on terms i agreed upon). Now though, i am on an unpaid contract that only lays down rules for me to use the companies' infrastructure (and intellectual property legal stuff).

I find myself doing stuff for my superior not directly related to my thesis far too often, in my opinion: i went on a buisness trip with him and a coworker last week for multiple days, he asked me a couple of times to 'just try something out' unrelated to my thesis, but to other projects i was not involved in so far. I was also asked to participate in a group workshop spanning three days, with all other participants doing the same job as me, but they are obviously being paid.

While I really enjoy working at this company and like the work as well, I feel that I should not sell myself short (or, in fact, give myself for free). I would like to raise this issue and possibly come to an outcome of either me getting paid for additional work or not being asked to work on additional tasks.

How can I resolve this situation in my favor?

Additional information:

  • I was already offered a half-time position following the completion of my degree, which would be ideal to work on alongside a masters' program i am aiming for.
  • The country i am posting from is Germany.
  • Other interns in their write-up phase are being paid to work on their thesis exclusively, while i am not.
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    I wasn't really sure if i should have posted this in academia.SE instead, but i thought asking about company contracting and working conditions would fit in better here. Please let me know if you think otherwise. – Jonas Schwarz Dec 5 at 22:32
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    I think this is the best SE for this. What country is this in? – Myles Dec 5 at 22:32
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    Thank you for the comment! I am posting from Germany, and also added the information to the question. – Jonas Schwarz Dec 5 at 22:37
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    While I don't have your answer we have some really knowledgeable German members, I'm sure you will get a thorough and accurate answer. – Myles Dec 5 at 22:40
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    WHo are you actually working for - it sounds like you have ended your intenship so you are working for the university so your superior is a member of the univrsity?? – Mark Dec 5 at 23:28

I find myself doing stuff for my superior not directly related to my thesis far too often, in my opinion: i went on a business trip with him and a coworker last week for multiple days, he asked me a couple of times to 'just try something out' unrelated to my thesis, but to other projects i was not involved in so far. I was also asked to participate in a group workshop spanning three days, with all other participants doing the same job as me, but they are obviously being paid.

It sounds from this that your boss is trying to give you opportunities you may find valuable, and therefore may appreciate, rather than extorting you for work. Many people see travelling away on a business trip as a perk rather than a nuisance - likewise many people would see a group workshop as a positive as well (free training!)

From this perspective, if you don't want to participate in the above, then you can just tell your boss that you're too busy working on your write-up to be able to attend.

  • I do enjoy the work i've been given, but i feel treated unfairly. Other interns in the same situation (write-up-phase) are being paid to work on their thesis exclusively. I am going to add this info to the question. – Jonas Schwarz Dec 6 at 8:43
  • All this is relevant but thesis would not write itself :) – Strader Dec 7 at 3:57

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