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I took an offer for a year long internship after graduating college this year and I have been in the position for 3 months.

I feel as though the internship has not been as described but I admittedly didn’t research the position enough before accepting it and there wasn’t any interview.

It’s overseas for an impressive company and I get paid 1k a month which is something but not exactly enough for the cost of living in the location.

I’m usually alone in the office because there are only two other workers at this location and one travels a lot so I feel lonely most of the time as I don’t have anyone let alone anyone near my age. Work has been minimal and mind numbing, I understand that interns aren’t usually given interesting work but I thought I would gain some valuable experience. I thought there’d be opportunities to network etc but day after day it’s just me sitting at a computer screen for hours on end.

Is it okay to leave the internship if I feel as though it’s not going anywhere or is it better to stick with it for a good reference? My boss says things will get busy in the new year because of industry changes but I fear it’s simply more admin work for me to compile.

closed as off-topic by Philip Kendall, gnat, scaaahu, Jim G., gazzz0x2z Dec 17 '18 at 13:55

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  • Can you break this up into paragraphs to make it a bit easier to read? I'm not finding it too clear at the moment. – berry120 Dec 13 '18 at 22:31
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    1k/month is more than the 0/month a lot of interns get – SaggingRufus Dec 14 '18 at 11:49
  • I was offered another full time job ( the exact same start date) but I was able to defer that offer for one year which I did because I thought I’d get a lot out of this internship! So really I can’t be too picky and I think I simply had too high expectations hence my dissapointment and uncertainty. – Milde S Dec 14 '18 at 23:41
  • I definitely appreciate the salary but I am still investing money into being here which I was willing to do for a good experience. – Milde S Dec 14 '18 at 23:42
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    @SaggingRufus I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree that the status quo is not what it should be. Let’s leave it at a difference of opinion, because SE commenta aren’t the place for extended discussion. – Chris Cirefice Dec 17 '18 at 12:24
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I think that you're chasing something that might be less than realistic (in a way common to new graduates): an extremely rewarding and fulfilling work experience at entry-level. I'm not saying that that's an unreasonable thing to want, or that work will just be an extension of what your internship has been like. But this stuck out to me:

I understand that interns aren’t usually given interesting work but I thought I would gain some valuable experience.

You are gaining valuable experience, insofar as doing your assigned work without being stimulated or entertained is something that will almost certainly come up in your career (more or less often, depending on your field, level of skill, etc.). Sitting at a computer screen for hours on end describes an awful lot of jobs these days, if imprecisely. Experience working for an impressive firm can be valuable on a CV, as can be working overseas.

Your current situation is that you find your assigned work trivial and your supervision light, which means that you have a lot of paid free time you can apply. That you are in such a situation but can't find something to do with that paid free time suggests that you might have a personal issue to address rather than an external one. You could even use the time to make yourself more attractive as an employee and seek out better opportunities, as suggested by Victor. At a minimum, do that rather than saddling yourself with even lower income and a gap on your CV, just to pursue the same end without any additional benefits.

Your boss has said that this situation will change in a matter of weeks, so it might be worth sticking it out until then. The option to quit will always be available. Your question

Is it okay to leave the internship if I feel as though it’s not going anywhere

is too subjective to give a good, clear answer to. But I suggest considering it from this angle: what would the next thing you do be? If you have a more attractive job (internship or not) lined up, then leaving while things are slow might be very attractive and understandable. You want the better opportunity, so you move to it. If you do not have something else lined up, then your rationale is essentially that you can't be bothered to do work you feel is dull or not providing the stepping stone you want for yourself (never mind any interests the company might have). That can also be understandable, but it's a worse look when someone is reviewing your job application.

Moving towards something better is a much better look than moving away from something you think you're too good for.

  • +1 Having an year-long paid (not enough, but still something) internship overseas for a well-known company is excellent start for career and will look great in CV. – Sopuli Dec 14 '18 at 11:12
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You said work is minimal. I am assuming that means you have lots of downtime because of that. Why not use the time staring at the screen to learn other career skills? Maybe do some 'industry research' even.

You said your pay does not meet the cost of living so I am assuming you do not really have a good financial net to hold you up given how that is an issue. So you need money. If it was so stressful and time-consuming that you did not have time to prepare switching to something nicer it might have been reasonable.

From what you described it is not so why quit just yet while you are getting paid for all that extra time you can spend towards improving yourself?

  • I think you’re right in saying that I could use the time to learn other career skills but right now I’ve fallen into a trap of being unproductive and I need to get out of it fast . I have always had goals to work towards especially in college and I thought I’d be stretched in this position but now it’s up to me to figure something out. However, I can’t help but think why I couldn’t just work on these skills at home unless taking time off is really that bad? I’m not ‘earning’ any money in this position as my expenses outweigh my income and the work environment isn’t exactly stimulating. – Milde S Dec 13 '18 at 23:32
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    For the money part, you will be losing even more money if you quit without anything in line. As far as the self-discipline part, it is definitely easier to say than do but just try your best. Applying for other jobs and getting in the job hunt might end up being the stimulation you want even if you do not get responses at first. – Victor S Dec 14 '18 at 0:42
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When you say "overseas" I assume that you have moved to a different country.

Working for well-known company overseas for a year seems like an excellent start of career and it will look great in your CV. Unless you have something better lined up, it would feel like a bad move to let this opportunity go. You are gaining international experience, and that can be extremely valuable for you in the long run.

Could it be that the discontent towards the work is psychological? You are far away from your family and friends, culture is a different, it's difficult to socialize etc. And you might be just projecting this uncertainty and change to your work, which is huge portion of the everyday life, especially when your daily environment and habits have changed drastically at the same time.

If this is the case, you could try to the improve quality and happiness of your life outside the office. So even if the work isn't perfect, give it less emphasis. You could find social media groups for internationals/expats in the region and start to network with them, find a new hobby, learn local culture/language/history, explore surroundings, start a blog where you document your experiences etc.

  • Yes I moved to a different country and there was very little support from the company and with no peers it’s hard to settle in. I think you’re right in saying that it’s psychological and I’m working on trying out new things because my hobby at home isn’t easy to continue here. Thanks! – Milde S Dec 14 '18 at 23:49
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I was in a similar situation (although not overseas, which is probably more of a challenge.) My internship was less than a year, but I knew about 3-4 months in that it was not a good fit/fulfilling.

  • Do try and identify projects that you can do from your place that could benefit the company. It sounds like you don't have much of any projects do at the moment - take charge and pitch something, or find some kind of side project you can do that won't distract from the things you are working on. To my boss, it looked like I was doing something; for me, it was small-scale things I could take into a future workplace or provided a foundation for the kind of projects they were expecting down the line.
  • Apply to other positions. Job searching while I was in an internship took a long time. You're not going to be able to jump ship tomorrow - keep applying and be honest with prospective employers that you're interested in moving on sooner rather than later.
  • Acknowledge that admin work is a lot of most jobs, unfortunately.
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    Thank you for the good advice. I will try and improve my transeferbale skills while at work and be on the look at for new positions. – Milde S Dec 14 '18 at 23:46

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