I am doing an internship at a company. For a while now I really have been disappointed with the sort of work I've been doing. I haven't really gotten to work with any code, with any of the developers, or really even with anything that feels computer science related.

I've been given some data to sort through, which basically just involves me copy-pasting a file name into windows explorer, and marking down some things in an excel file, repeat about 1500 times. I don't want to be too specific, but none of this is even slightly related to code, programming, anything.

I've seen some other questions on here about people doing internship and saying they were dissatisfied with what they were doing, and they were doing things that would be massive improvements for me: even just having an IDE on the screen in front of me would be a godsend.

That being said, it's a very nice company and I'd love the experience to put on my CV, so I'm a bit hesitant to rock the boat and ask the person responsible for me if I might be able to just, y'know, completely shift teams (since there's a team of developers in the company, and at the moment I'm essentially working for a team responsible for something completely different).

Is this normal? Should I talk to someone about getting reassigned to do something different? I don't want to complain that I'm not getting super exciting work, because as an intern, I know it's very customary to not get exciting work, but simultaneously, as nice as it sounds on my CV, the work I am doing now is not even slightly related to what I want to do in the future.

  • 2
    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Neo
    Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 11:54
  • 11
    Write code to automate the task. :-) Commented Jul 16, 2020 at 18:14
  • 2
    Upvote, for beating me to it. "involves me copy-pasting a file name into windows explorer, and marking down some things in an excel file, repeat about 1500 times" - Mawg's law says "if you do it once, fair enough. If you do it twice, always consider automating it. NEVER do the same thing three times, if it can be automated". I would suggest PyCharm (the community edition is free, even for commercial use) and a simple Python script, but YkMMV. In any case, there is the coding that you wanted.
    – Mawg
    Commented Oct 12, 2020 at 7:10

12 Answers 12


I agree with the answers about taking initiative, but I have some real experience to share so am answering separately.

For one of my college internships in EE, I went to work for a large prominent computer manufacturer. I got assigned to a group writing firmware for modems (yes, I’m old) and they basically stuck me in a room by myself with a bunch of computers with inboard modems and said “test these... Kthxbai”.

They would have been fine with me just testing manually all summer. But instead, I did some analysis and designed a grid of all possible setting combinations, wrote a script to have the computers continuously change their settings and have one call the other and verify they could connect properly.

I was then mostly freed up and tried to see if I could get involved in the development, but they were like “too complicated not enough time go away just get us test results” so I presided over a lab that sounded like an R2-D2 orgy (by this time I could tell if something was going wrong from the sound even before I got test results back) and dialed up to Usenet News and learned on my own in the spare time.

They were happy because they got comprehensive test results. I got to put “automated modem test lab” on my resume and had a first-interview story that showed initiative and technical skills, easily getting a gig in IT at a prominent enterprise out of school. It could have been better and I could have benefitted from more involvement on their side, but I made the best of it.

So show initiative and try to do the same thing. Design out how to automate that data manipulation task, do some prototypes and compare the output your program comes up with to what your manual task is doing, then once it’s batting a thousand, encourage the team to uptake it. Maybe you’ll get more dev work maybe you won’t, but it’s then a positive resume and learning experience.

You could also look at switching internships, but that depends on how long of an internship this is and what other options are readily available - if it's a summer internship and we're partway through July, then to quote Dr. Venkman, "someone with your qualifications would have no trouble finding a top-flight job in either the food service or housekeeping industries." Ride it out, you don't have to go back.

In general this kind of initiative will serve you well in your career. While there's such a thing as staying on a sinking ship too long, most places are a basic mix of positive and negative. The grass always looks greener on the other side but it isn't always. Take the opportunities afforded you and self-start to get the most possible benefit out of it. Industry generally expects you to learn on your own at all levels.

  • 45
    @MadPhysicist The task the OP has been given seems eminently programmable. Depends a bit on the actual "sorting" involved, but opening files, filter data and writing it to a csv (which you can then easily open in Excel) is something I have to do regularly at work.
    – Voo
    Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 19:27
  • 11
    For the record, I wouldn't call this or the OP's described intern experience very good by any standards - both of you got/are getting basically zero guidance from your internship partner. BUT, it is a very good way to turn a bad situation into a good one, so I still upvote this answer as a good way to go about this sort of situation...although, I would question wanting to join a company that puts so little value in their interns.
    – Zibbobz
    Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 20:14
  • 64
    You took a poorly-managed, not very well thought-out situation and managed to end up with something that was useful and worthwhile due to nothing but your own skills and ambition. That's an incredibly useful (and often overlooked) job skill. Heck, that probably describes 95% of the real-world engineering work out there.
    – bta
    Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 20:31
  • 14
    I haven't seen a kthxbai in probably 10 years... now I have to upvote Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 6:25
  • 9
    In general this kind of initiative will serve you well in your career. Not strong enough. This kind of initiative, or lack thereof, will make or break your career. No initiative - fine, you're stuck in a closet doing mundane crap until you're dead. Nobody will succeed for you. Great answer.
    – J...
    Commented Jul 15, 2020 at 14:57

Your situation is far from uncommon. Many internships end up being warm bodies thrown at problems that need to be done, but the FTE's don't have time to get around to doing.

Understand this from the employer's perspective. You are young, have zero experience, and young people have gotten a nasty reputation over recent years as being overly entitled, demanding, and unreliable. It's not fair, but it's the attitude out there.

The way to counteract this is simply to ask for more work. You will quickly stand out and be seen as a "go-getter".

Hey? Did you see that new intern Yvain?

Yeah, got all of the work done, and then asked for more to do. That one shows initiative.

Don't worry about rocking the boat in this manner. It will not be seen as being disruptive, it will be seen as enthusiasm if you put it forth in the right way:

Right way:

Hey boss, I'm really getting alot done. Is there anything else I can help out with? I'm studying software development, and could probably help out.

Wrong way

Hey boss, I feel like my talents are just wasted doing this data entry, I'm studying to be a programmer, can't I get transferred to the development team?

Also, keep in mind that many development teams are not eager to take on interns, as a mistake could cost them dearly in dev time, especially if they are behind schedule, so don't hope for too much.

The important thing about the internship is that you are making business contacts, and connections, as well as learning about the work environment.

If they won't give you coding tasks, go see if you can do some volunteer work where they will let you code. That will be of a great benefit to your CV as well. Volunteer work helps in several ways

  1. It shows that you are giving, and builds good will.
  2. You make more contacts with more people (always a good thing)
  3. You can get experience in areas you need to build up/strengthen
  • 2
    This is excellent advice. If you can automate the data entry using your software skills, that will help you talk your way up as. All the companies I have worked for would make an offer straight out of college to interns that did this. Not to mention repeat summer work. For the exact reasons listed here. Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 18:52
  • Yes. Part of the reason I got hired at my first job is that I spent an afternoon doing a fairly trivial but not really my job task that the IT department said they'd get around to in a month or two, but which was needed next week.
    – jamesqf
    Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 0:21
  • 5
    Learning about how real development teams operate does not require doing coding. They're different things and you do not learn how to work in development when studying. Asking to sit in and observe e.g. dev meetings might be a good place to start. This might demonstrate interest without interfering with critical work. Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 7:04
  • 4
    I've been an intern and worked with a good few over the past few years being a graduate -> junior -> mid-level developer and this advice is sound. One of my best interns would do the work with no fan-fair, promptly advise of any issues he's having, patiently wait until one of us could deal with it and once done ask for more work. He would continue to wait 1/2 day to a day if we didn't give him anything else until we give him something else to do. Rince and repeat. Showing us he could do the really simple tasks and ask questions give us more confidence to give him better tasks. Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 17:22
  • I agree with much of this answer, but I don't think I'd describe "Hey boss, I'm really getting alot done" as the right way to start almost any conversation, especially as an intern. That sounds extremely arrogant, at least to me. Replacing that part with "Ok, I've finished sorting through the data; here are the results" or, better yet, in the vein of mxyzplk's answer, "Ok, I wrote a program that sorted through the data; here are the results" would seem much less arrogant to me, while essentially conveying the same idea that you've finished the assigned task.
    – reirab
    Commented Jul 16, 2020 at 16:35

That being said, it's a very nice company and I'd love the experience to put on my CV

What experience? You're doing data input! The experience you're receiving is almost completely worthless if you want to become a software developer.

I don't care if the company is famous or if you have a nice title. No one cares about that. Anyone reading your resume will want to know about your experience.

so I'm a bit hesitant to rock the boat and ask the person responsible for me if I might be able to just, yknow, completely shift teams (since there's a team of developers in the company, and at the moment I'm essentially working for a team responsible for something completely different).

Rock the boat! Get yourself transferred. And if you can't get transferred, quit.

I'm sorry, but you're totally wasting your time on this internship.

I don't want to complain that I'm not getting super exciting work, because as an intern, I know it's very customary to not get exciting work

Don't ask for exciting work, just ask for work that's relevant to your field of study.

Let me assure you. As a new software developer, if you're not constantly coding, you're only going to go backward. And it's only going to get harder to get back into your field the more time you spend doing something else.

Now, if you need the money (assuming they're paying you), then yes maybe stay on, but if money is not your primary concern right now, then do everything you can to get back on track.

I am a computer science student doing an internship but isn't getting to work with any code / any developers. Is this normal?

Unfortunately, it is normal.

If you don't have a strong agenda of your own, you're going to be swept up in the agendas of others.

  • 2
    Your response is kinda one of my big fears. I'm very much a timid person who doesn't like conflict so I distinctively want to hide behind 'but I can put this really amazing company down on my cv!' but in truth I know that as soon as they ask me what I did and I explained I was copy pasting into excel files, it counts for almost zero. Thanks for your response, I think you're totally right.
    – Yvain
    Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 12:00
  • 3
    In general, experience and exposure is king. However, if the company has a famously difficult recruitment process or is so sought after that every open position has thousands of applicants, then just getting hired says a great deal about you. If I'm hiring a junior I care less about their experience and more about whether they have the work ethic and eagerness to learn - if they have that, we can train them. (FWIW I left a job to join a big 4 firm - the work wasn't any more impressive but having them on my CV did so much for me before I even opened my mouth in an interview)
    – amcdermott
    Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 15:02
  • 9
    @Yvain You shouldn't necessarily see this as an adversarial conflict. Your company (assuming some things here) did not bring you on to waste you as a resource that they could utilize to better reach their business goals. It is not only in your best interest to have you doing productive work; most employers should recognize this.
    – Drise
    Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 20:07
  • 6
    No, this is just wrong. This company is nice enough to give the OP money and work experience in exchange for doing a task. For the OP to act like some sort of prima donna would be counter-productive. Best case would be, as others have suggested, to automate it, finish ahead of schedule (and correctly!), and ask what to do next.
    – jamesqf
    Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 0:18
  • 4
    "As a new software developer, if you're not constantly coding, you're only going to go backward. And it's only going to get harder to get back into your field the more time you spend doing something else." I'm pretty sure this is nonsense. It's certainly not consistent with any of my experience or observations in the industry. Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 18:32
  • Do manual work for some time
  • Get typical patterns, use cases
  • Think about how it can be processed automatically or more conveniently using tools
  • Set up 1:1 with your manager and propose your solution
  • Can develop working minimum viable product (MVP) before the meeting. The manager may not know that is possible or think it would take lots of time until you show something.
  • You are a developer and have to put something on your CV
  • 14
    I find it extremely important to have some kind of MVP beforehand and strongly suggest to have something to show to your manager so as to prove you can actually do what you propose and how it adds value by saving precious time. Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 16:01
  • 25
    "Hey boss, I finished everything weeks ahead of expectation using this script" sounds a lot better than "Hey boss, can I take time from my assigned work to work on a script that might save me some time?" Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 18:53
  • 1
    @musefan. But you have the option not to say that, even if true. You don't have to incriminate yourself unless someone asks. Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 13:16
  • 2
    @musefan. I am not entirely disagreeing with you. It's up to the intern up gauge their own abilities. The places that I've worked don't fail to come up with clever automated solutions because it's hard, but rather because it's low impact and not a high priority. It provides interns with an opportunity to prove themselves without harming anyone if they fail. The ones that show initiative get progressively more responsibility and usually end up transitioning to full time upon graduation. But my experience is mostly with engineering shops that vet and pay interns pretty well. Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 13:34
  • 3
    @musefan. Absolutely true as well. I totally agree with your reasoning but not your conclusion. You should only keep your head down when you're happy at your job. If the work is crap and management is out to prove themselves instead of managing, I suspect you wouldn't be treated there any better as full time. In other words, you wouldn't want to get your foot in that door. Being an intern is a bit like interviewing, in the sense that it's a two-way process in which both parties evaluate each other, but with more side benefits. Many companies I've heard about choose to ignore that though. Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 13:45

At the risk of a downvote, I'd like to offer an alternative perspective.

  • Yes, this is normal.
  • Your day-to-day work experience is only barely relevant to your future.
  • Like others have said, take initiative where you can.

I had such an incredibly similar experience to you when I was in college, I'm wondering if we worked at the same place. I was irritated to have to do glorified data entry, and ended up writing VB scripts to do some actual coding, given that Excel was all I had access to. It got so boring I ended up playing Gameboy emulators on my phone, and did pushups in my cube while I waited for a shred of work to come my way.

At graduation I had a job secured thanks to having an internship on my resume. Most employers (in my experience) will assume you will need some on-the-job training (especially if you went to a large university, where the focus is often research, and not as geared towards vocational training). When I'm reading resumes, internship experience doesn't really move the needle too far for me either, apart from noting you had one.

I think the best thing (professionally), that I got out of the experience was a very positive recommendation from my manager, so to that end I'd advise against rocking the boat. While it's very romantic to consider the rockstar intern persona where you bust your hump and deliver the company something amazing that they barely paid your for, it's not super practical (or a good idea, in my opinion!).

I know that at the end of the day you just want to do something that suits your aspirations and interests, and I wish you the best of luck with whatever route you choose. Just asking this question shows your head is in the right place.

I think the crossover from stackoverflow lends a bias to this site - but the majority of people & opportunities you encounter aren't going to be a perfect fit. Do your best, and work hard to try and find full-time position that better suits your goals.


Your situation is unfortunately more common than it should be. My university did a 6 month work placement. I got some nice, challenging assignments but some of my classmates spent their time formatting floppy disks or swapping backup tapes from DB servers and sending them to offsite storage.

Here is the thing: internship or full time job, paid or unpaid - this is your career. You alone are responsible for it. You decide what path you want it to take, what your ultimate ambition is and how aggressively you wish to pursue it. If you're lucky you'll work with people and organisations who actively try to nurture it and give you the opportunities you want but, and it's important to understand this, they are under no obligation to do so.

The balancing act you need to pull off is combining your career goals with the wants/needs of your employer. There is no by-numbers approach here but consider the following ....

  1. If you don't ask, you won't get. If your employer doesn't know the type of work/experience you want, it's much harder for them to line it up for you. Don't, however, make the mistake of thinking that once they are aware of your goals the right work will automatically come your way. You need to have the courage to ask (and if necessary, to remind occasionally) but remember, any number of external factors can hamper the best intentions so make sure you don't burn your bridges.
  2. Do what's right for you. Loyalty to an employer is fine but not at all costs. A job is essentially a business transaction - you are providing your services in return for a salary. If circumstances change for the worse they won't hesitate to end that relationship if it's what they think is right. I'm not suggesting you need to be an emotionless machine - but if your career isn't progressing as you want, don't hang about for sentimental reasons or through misplaced loyalty (i.e. the feeling that they will be stuck without you or that you owe them something). You need to think of your career (and also your mental health, job satisfaction, mortgage, family, kids, car loan etc..)

In terms of your current internship, the second point is maybe less relevant than it will be later in life. Although you are not getting the experience you want, there is value in having the experience on your CV - particularly if it is with a reputable company.

You shouldn't, however, hesitate to (politely) ask for coding opportunities. Maybe you could shadow a more senior developer or start by writing unit tests. Any experience where you are learning and improving is valuable. If you prove yourself capable, more complex/challenging pieces may come your way. Once you have a foot in the door, enthusiasm and a willingness to step outside your comfort zone will help you progress.


Sounds like you're getting the brush-off.

Having managed several interns, I usually give them introductory tasks to gauge their skillset and to get them comfortable with the environment. Then, I give them something up to their level, (or slightly above) that will help out and that they can complete in the remaining time. I'm usually good enough at interviewing that I don't end up with a coffee-runner.

There are lessons here:

  • Automate -- The best engineers IMHO are so lazy that they will work overtime automating busywork so that they don't have to do it. Be a good, lazy, engineer. Automate.
  • Grunt-work is part of the job -- I'm a lead, and end up doing (Automating :)) it. Sometimes I even save it for the interns if the task can wait. It's good learning for them, and I can concentrate on something more interesting, or important. (But I usually tell them to automate it)
  • Manage up -- You might be getting the brushoff due to politics of the situation happening to your mentor. Try to understand your mentor's point of view/situation and accommodate it. Helping your boss out and making them look good is oftentimes just as important as having good coding skills. They might be stuck with you just as much as you are stuck with them. If this is the case, you may just have to suck it up (or resign).
  • Give them confidence that you will get the job done, then ask how/if you can get some actual coding. Define what you want to do and they might be able to accommodate it, especially if you complete the grunt-work. If you are in a "resentful mentor" situation then annoy them by finishing too quickly. They just might give you harder, more fulfilling work to keep you occupied

A piece of advice: Learn from this. When you interview for a job, you are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you. I love it when the candidates ask questions about what they will be doing. The questions that they ask outside of the interview, or during the "any questions for me" phase really allows me to see if they are enthusiastic and want to learn. It lets me gauge what my roll will be during the process and gives me a window into what tasks we might be able to accomplish. This gives you an opportunity to understand how the interviewer sees internship and if you are going to have a good experience or if you are just going to collect a paycheck and a bullet point on your C.V.

BTW, if you're accepting an unpaid internship, think twice. Make sure it is something you love. The job of an engineer, at any level, is to figure out how to accomplish a goal - It's basically "learning for a living". If the problem was solved, they could just pay someone waay less to type it in. The "experience" benefit benefits them equally. It's the mark of a sweatshop to try to drive down the price. Ask about the engineer turnover if they offer you an unpaid internship - it will help figure out if you are signing up for a death-march. (Doesn't sound like your situation though)

Hope this one works out for you, and at least you will know some stuff to avoid in the future if not. My bad jobs have helped me appreciate my good ones that much more.


I am not in computer science, but I do work at a university and have often had the opportunity to assist students with their internships in different ways. In my experience, what you are describing is common, but whether it's okay or not depends on what you want out of your internship.

Kinds of Interns (and Internships)

Many students have never had a job - even an insignificant part-time job - before coming to college. Those students receive significant value from absolutely any job experience. They are learning fundamentals like expectations around coming to the workplace on time, communicating with peers, etc. For a student like that, the substance of their internship is largely irrelevant.

Another large group of students might already have some job experience, but are largely shopping around for a kind of company, industry, or position that is desirable. I often describe jobs to these students as being similar to dating: your first partner is largely random, and you learn what kind is good for you by experience. Similarly, your first jobs (or internships) are not yet informed by your experiences.

Lastly, some students want to do have certain kinds of experiences in their internships. This sounds like you: you want to code (or work with code). Other students describe wanting to contribute to larger projects, to experience the world of natural resources management, to sit in on meetings with financial managers, etc.

What should you do?

It sounds like you are in the last category: you expected to work with code. You studied computer science and you want to perform some job-related tasks that build on those skills. That is a legitimate educational (and career) goal. By all means, you should communicate with both your academic advisor and supervisor about this.

As it turns out, this is also an important career-related task. Your ability to bring these feelings and experiences to supervisors is an important part of being a useful employee. Handling them maturely reflects well on you, though it may be a rocky conversation.

On the other hand, perhaps you are also learning about a kind of position, company, or industry that is a bad fit for you. Consider that useful learning too.


I see users here saying this is all perfectly normal, but as a Computer Science graduate who did a placement year as part of their degree, I'm inclined to say this is not normal.

As you are a student, yes, you will be expected to negotiate with certain mundane tasks. However, if you signed up for a development placement, and have had little to no development experience or interaction, then I'd strongly suggest raising this with your manager.

Do not be afraid to raise issues with your manager/a higher member of staff. This isn't school, this is the workplace, and issues like this need addressing:

  • Speak to your manager. Clearly, there is an issue and you are eager to write some code, and taking the initiative by contacting your manager is the first step. If your manager is worth their salt, then they'll see your drive and try to assist you in finding the right work.
  • Contact your institution. If nothing is done, and this is tied in with them, then they are obligated to help you and ensure that your placement is appropriate and useful.
  • If not, then consider either sticking it out or finding another placement.

I would err on the side of caution for the last point as placements often provide soft skills and experience beyond what you might immediately think about. Ultimately though, if you're not happy in your placement, then you might be in the wrong role.


I've been assigned a sort of amount of data that I just need to sort through, which basically just involves me copy-pasting a file name into windows explorer, and marking down some things in an excel file, repeat about 1500 times. I don't want to be too specific, but none of this is even slightly related to code, programming, anything.

Who says it isn't?! That can be easily automated with any of several browser-automation APIs (in Python, or other languages). I could list them for you here but I'd be robbing you of the very educational task of figuring out which APIs are suitable, which should take you like all of 15 minutes. Once you get it implemented you'll then be able to run all 1500 URLs as fast as you can, or as fast as the intermediate sites rate-limit you (then you'll want to figure out how to interleave/rotate accesses to different sites, or apply rate-limit controls. More educational programming experience :). Then, demo it to them, document it, put it on your resume, write a blog, join your local user-group and give a talk (get clearance for the last three items), give the second iteration of the talk online or at a conf, maybe someday open-source a package or start your own product or app; that's how most of us got started. Maybe they'll think of a more interesting task for you, maybe they won't, or maybe you can pick your own.

Who said your task was "not even slightly related to code, programming, anything"? - they didn't, you just assumed that. Always have the mentality of automating and improving the process, extend, generalize, parameterize, even when they didn't explicitly tell you to. Don't just sit there, waiting to be spoonfed or babysat. Take control of your career, make it go where you want it to go. Most cr*p tasks can be an opportunity in disguise (admittedly, most aren't great). Internships are a bridge to the unstructured world of work, where 'development paths' and 'career ownership' are almost always empty phrases tossed around by HR depts, and mentoring tends to be ad-hoc and short-term-priority-driven. Figuring out how to make yourself useful is also a career skill. Be remembered as "that smart intern who wrote that cool automation script".


Well, internships are just low (or no) paying jobs - and the people getting those jobs sometimes (usually) get to do what nobody else wants to do. This is because:

  • the regular employees already have a lot of work to do on their projects;
  • there is some work which takes "a lot" of time to do and no employee is available to take it - and employees are too expensive for that kind of work.

That is where internships (and interns) come in.

As an opportunity, you can automate whatever task you were given - in that way you will show the company not only that you have skills, but you also have initiative for improvement. Both of these qualities will help you advance in your career.

On the other hand, complaining and demanding things to be the way you want will get you no-where.

  • 12
    An internship is a job where you get paid very little or nothing, but you're working on tasks relevant to your field of development, so your payment is useful experience. If the company is having the intern do unrelated menial tasks, it is not providing that learning experience. That means it's not fulfilling its part of the deal, and the internship is just thinly veiled slavery. I know that happens frequently, but that doesn't mean interns should accept it.
    – marcelm
    Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 18:37
  • @marcelm. I've worked for companies that treated interns well overall, but I do have to say that interns that did not show initiative did not learn much and weren't given much consideration. No one has the time to really deal with them. But if an intern built the relationships to get an idea of what was going on and did things that really helped, they would likely come on as full-time employees later. Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 19:01
  • 2
    @MadPhysicist I think there's a huge difference between not much help and just directly being given a non-relevant task. If the OP was give a data set and told "go try and automate this thing our employees do manually" without much help, that would be different, but since they expect the OP to actually produce the sorted data even if it's done manually by the OP...the OP isn't really getting an internship, the OP is getting a crummy (hopefully at least paid) summer job. dol.gov/agencies/whd/fact-sheets/71-flsa-internships Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 19:17
  • 1
    I'll note that it is illegal to pay an intern less than minimum wage unless that intern is the "primary beneficiary" of the arrangement. See dol.gov/agencies/whd/fact-sheets/71-flsa-internships . Note: I don't recommend a legal approach. Whistle blowers have more trouble finding employment than people who quit their internship.
    – Brian
    Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 20:06

In the book Media Management in the Age of Giants, Dennis F. Herrick remarks:

...while you're there, do the best job you can - and then do even more. Never shirk additional responsibility. Make yourself indispensable.

When I first started working at my organisation, I was given a very low tier data entry job. It was only temporary. I didn't shirk it; I did everything I could to improve it or make it better.

I looked for ways to automate the boring, repetitive entry tasks. I optimised physical collection of files, doing it in set waves to improve efficiency and reduce health issues. When I found myself with spare moments, I asked other people if there was any way I could assist? If no-one had any tasks for me, I took time to either self-improve, either watching skill-based videos, or reading books on subjects; or I took time to sort out or improve the home life.

I did such a good job that the three places I was based at gave praise, and I was given a new job doing software development, and then a promotion. What was temporary and seemingly unpleasant, I essentially forged into an ideal job role.

You have a task before you. Do the best damn job.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .