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I got an internship of 8 months from January to August. It was for a customer service role and my main job was to use SAP and enter orders for the most part. A lot of emails but overall, it wasn't too bad.

The year began with me and two exp employees, one of them moved out of that job so it became me and her for a month or two and then we got another one - making it 3. the workload in the office wasn't too bad, manageable and I enjoyed working in the office. The company I was working at was going through some structural changes so it was an interesting vibe.

When news of the pandemic broke out and like many other companies we were instructed to work from home, it was an interesting proposition. At first the workload was medium and even went down to zero/slow. It was nice at first and manageable. The workload slowly picked up and around that time however, our third person was relocated to another department - due to our company's organizational changes.

From there the past few months have been a blur. The month after member 3 left, I was getting used to my new role on our team of 2 (we had 4 types of orders, I'd be taking care of order type 1, which had the most traffic most days while the older exp member got order types 2,4,3 (sorted, left having more of a workload and right having the least - though not as much as 1).

As time went on however, during mid-may my performance started to take a dip. One, the workload was increasing and I felt stressed out/maxed out. As an intern, I didn't want to say I couldn't handle for fears I'd be deemed "lazy". As the workload went up again, I started missing emails and orders. I managed to turn it around in June and July wasn't as bad but August hit and I had a rough patch there also.

The main reason for my rough patches in my view boils down to a few factors

  1. mental fatigue - honestly I've felt drained from staying at home, the pandemic, workload and my home life not being that good/supportive. It's taken its toll on me
  2. to add onto point 1, being stressed out and just anxious all the time at my performance, home life etc
  3. poor time management skills
  4. checking out sometimes and just lacking motivation that I once had earlier

My major mistakes include:

  1. missing emails and orders (eg should of sent this email out earlier or done this order first)
  2. pushing things to the side and doing them only when told to

I've basically done my internship at this point. I'm wondering what other people think of my scenario and what are some logical next steps/advice I can have for the future and for other internships?


edit: for a clear cut question, I have 2

  1. is this experience because I'm a bad intern? Or is it just various factors that were out of my control? (this is my first internship for clarification)
  2. in terms of next steps, what should be something I take out from this internship?
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    I'm not sure I see an answerable question here. You had an internship. You've learned something from the internship. You weren't a perfect intern (no one is). You know how you want to improve. What sort of "next steps" are you looking for? – Justin Cave Aug 27 '20 at 16:58
  • add a edited statement for clarification. – throwaway008 Aug 27 '20 at 17:02
  • Can you cut down the question? There's a lot of stuff in here that is really not necessary nor needed for us to answer the question and most people are not going to bother when there is such a large wall of text E.g. We don't need to know which orders you were managing or your colleagues – Draken Aug 28 '20 at 6:15
  • i'll try to - once i get a free moment i'll cut down the filler the reason i added the little order info bit is to explain that the responsibility/major task i was given was the most heaviest in terms of workload on a day to day basis, the other ones sometimes got up to that level, but most of the time didn't – throwaway008 Aug 28 '20 at 13:03
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I'm not sure if I got it right, but for me you did less of an internship than they abused you as a cheap helper. Some clues for me are:

  • You were taught a task and then did it for the entire duration
  • You learned something in the beginning and the rest of the time you just worked off tasks
  • Employees who earn more have done the same job and you have compensated a normal employee they transferred

Back to your question. Has anyone complained about your productivity? I mean, I would never expect an intern to do everything like a normal employee.

Besides, it reads like you were barely lead. So it is only understandable that you had little motivation and then felt overwhelmed. At the latest when the performance dropped, someone should have asked how you're doing and guided you.

Think or write down what you liked and what you didn't like. What did you learned for yourself and how your expectations of the internship were met? Then I would specifically look at the points and consider whether they are critical and you need to work on them (e.g. time management) or whether you have discovered things that you like better and want to develop them specifically.

As an example: If you have noticed that you don't enjoy email communication with many different people and you are quickly taken by surprise by too many emails, then you have weaknesses in this area and probably you wouldn't be a good project manager. But, maybe I wouldn't work on that at all but rather look at what you were good at and what you were good at and develop myself in that direction. In the sense of: Work on Your Strengths, Not Your Weaknesses

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  • appreciate the reply - i understand and in some regards it does feel like i was a stopgap/cheap help for this role. learning wise i really didn't learn that much and it was more personal/how i functioned in a office related setting. plus the dos and donts of working in a professional setting productivity wise i was always good. if there was a day where it was getting backed up on my end (for order type 1) management would ease the burden and transfer orders to another department, which helped. only time i was flagged for any issues was again, during missed emails, orders and missteps (1/2) – throwaway008 Aug 28 '20 at 12:58
  • (2/3) when entering orders. leadership wise my main instruction was limited in respects to basically staying within my role and doing what i was told to do, the usual essentially. as for taking a step back and understanding what i enjoyed and didn't enjoy this internship. the big that i suffered from was time management and managing my workload. it's an area as time went on i found some ways that worked, but then reverted to my old ways, so it's something i need to fix myself. once i'm fully free from this internship i'll reflect on this whole experience. again, thanks for the reply. (2/2) – throwaway008 Aug 28 '20 at 13:00
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is this experience me being a bad intern?

You aren't a bad intern. You are just not well-suited to meet the needs of the role you were in. You simply couldn't keep up.

Perhaps you need to find a different job/role.

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  • thanks for the reply i want something in this vein of the world (this was supposed to be a supply chain esqe job but it was entry level + mainly frontend/customer orientated.) though I may prefer something more behind the scenes. – throwaway008 Aug 27 '20 at 18:28
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"Welcome to the real world of work."

Gosh darn it ... it turns out to be a human(!) endeavor!

"Welcome aboard."

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