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I'm interning at a fin-tech company that develops products on the Salesforce platform.

The duration of my internship was for 6 months, and in the last month, they assigned me the task of developing a dashboard UI for one of their user-facing products. My boss convinced me that project was fairly simple and interesting to work on, so I agreed to take it up.

As I took up this assignment, I quickly came to a better understanding of the scope and effort involved. I had been given to believe that I would learn a popular UI framework, but it was not all it was cracked up to be.

The extent of my work involves writing thousands of lines of JSON to configure a prebuilt framework which renders the UI based on the JSON. There is no documentation, so I have to do a lot of trial and error, guesswork, and debugging to figure out the correct JSON format for what I want to render.

This is a thankless task with no documentation, and is definitely a mile and a half away from the work I'm used to doing (core business logic development with Apex).

In summary, I am working in an area I have zero interest in, doing donkey's work. Furthermore, this work is of no benefit to me as a a software professional, since this is a company-specific framework I'm working with.

I have tried on many occasions to voice my concerns and grievances, but my bosses always avoid the focal issue, saying "It's an emerging technology," or, "It'll be useful for your future."

Of course, I'm doing my best to do the work I've been assigned, but I'm hard pressed to find any motivation. I'm now also getting chewed out for my slow pace of work, and I am being cajoled to work overtime, affecting my work-life balance.

I really feel like my skills are being put to waste doing this. Any advice on how to handle a situation like this would be appreciated.

Thank you for your time.

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    "Since my boss frequents this site, I'm posting this anonymously and refraining from divulging enough information that would give them a clue as to who the author of this post is." If your boss frequents this site, they could probably figure out it's you from all of the technology specifics you just shared. – David K Jun 9 '17 at 18:48
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    @DavidK Yes and no; I've been in similar positions, and I'd say this is vague enough. There are a large number of tools that function in this way, and as a consultant that implements one such tool for customers looking to adopt it, I can say that there's not enough information here for someone in his position to distinguish from one person at one company or another. It's also fairly common for companies to home-brew systems that function in the same way. It's like this throughout the IT Service Management industry. I think OP is safe, presuming he has no personal information on his profile. – schizoid04 Jun 9 '17 at 19:02
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    Sounds like you are doing a lot of boring repetitive work. This is almost always a sign that you are tackling the task from the wrong angle. You should bring up your complaints to your boss for the simple fact he (or a Sr. Developer) might have a more streamlined approach to solve your problem. Who knows, you may end up being tasked with building a utility to automate what you are performing manually and find this to be one of the more interesting programming projects you've performed. – DanK Jun 9 '17 at 19:22
  • You're editing JSON....by hand? – Robert Dundon Jun 9 '17 at 19:25
  • Does google help you find any documentation on the matter? you said "in the last month". Does that mean you in month 6 of 6 or the month of May/June. If you are in month 6 of 6 how many days you got left? If you truly have 1-4 weeks left goto your boss, and say there is no way I can finish the program as an intern, now what? – cybernard Jun 9 '17 at 20:28
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You're an intern, and interns are always given the least glamorous work, the most tedious, and often work that isn't that important. The goal is to teach you professionalism and perhaps get some work out of you at the same time. So, how can you learn what you need to learn?

  1. It's ok to talk to your manager and explain that you don't feel work is beneficial. But if it is beneficial to the company and needs to be done, you might be the appropriate person to do it. That is learning that sometimes you have to do work you don't like, and the manager may have reasons that you don't fully see. You are also learning how to let your manager know when you aren't happy, to see if there is a solution they can come up with that works for both of you.
  2. Your job already has an end date, so whatever happens, you won't be stuck doing this for years. That helps you learn patience, but also helps you plan your future and gives you ideas to ask when looking for the next job.
  3. Can you automate any of this? Can you write documentation that will help the next person doing it? How can you approach this so you get more benefit while also helping the company? You can learn to take initiative. Talk to your boss and find out if there are ways to make this less tedious.
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There are 2 things which i thought about when i read your post:

  • you get one month of work "below your standard" (as an intern) and you start venting? Welcome to real life!

  • Actually maybe they put you on it because they expect that you give constructive input - with a fresh view. The important question should be: can you imagine a way to replace "writing 1000s of lines of json" by other techniques? Has the Framework weird shortcomings which people did not realize? After looking at it: do you have ideas for improving?

Think about these, and if you manage to address the latter one and make it visible that you actually solved a real problem there, your boss will love you.

  • -1 for the patronizing comment in the first bullet – Student Jun 11 '17 at 16:22
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It sounds to me like the most productive thing to do is to have a sit-down with your boss, and tell him most of the things from the last 2-3 paragraphs of your question here.

Let him know that this is a serious issue for you, and you don't think you're a good fit for this work.

Ask him if there's something else available that you'd be a better fit for, and if you feel this way, let him know that it's something that may impact whether or not you are able to continue working there.

There's a big difference between something that's a minor annoyance, and something that will cause an employee to leave. Your manager will likely be more willing to negotiate things with you if he understands that the consequences of ignoring you will cause him to find a replacement - not only for this task, but for your other responsibilities as well.

This should enforce in his mind that you're not just whining - that it's seriously impacting you.

Of course, if you let him know it is something that you'd leave over, it will probably impact how you're viewed if you stay, so consider that option carefully.

The end result is that you're going to have to communicate with your manager. If you can't get what you need from him, you may want/need to consider other opportunities.

I say this because it sounds like this isn't really the job that you're going to be able to do best, and you seem to know that, even if your manager is ignoring it.

It would help if you could find/help find a solution to the problem as well, such as finding someone else on the team that would be better prepared to handle the work, or if there was a legitimate need for someone with more qualifications / experience to be brought on to manage it.

Also, an unrelated tip: Even if you hate the work, go the extra mile.

You're identifying these problems that are making your job difficult - Try to solve as many as you can while you're working on them.

If there's no documentation, try writing some with what knowledge you do come across. It sounds like you're in an IT based organization or department - One of the components of the ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library, best practices for IT) framework, for example, is a knowledge base.

Capture and document the things you learn doing this work, and make it available to help the next guy. Regardless of the outcome, your peers down the road will consider you a hero for it.

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When asking your manager to make a change, you should try to provide a positive solution that meets the manager's needs.

For work you don't like there are several options:

Does it really need to be done? If not, suggest alternatives for more valuable work you could be doing instead.

Can it be done better? It sounds as though there is room for improvement through automation and/or documentation. Spend a few hours thinking about automation, and if it makes sense present a proposal.

Is there someone else available and better suited to doing the job? For example, if there is someone who already knows what you are finding out by trial and error, they might be able to do the job, and document it, faster than you could.

If the job needs doing, cannot be done a better way, and you are the least unsuitable employee to do it, your manager really has little option.

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