So it's been one week since I started an internship of 6 weeks in a communication and marketing department and I already feel like I'm doing a bad job. I have this dread feeling that it's not going well, and I'm making it worse and worse because I'm so stressed.

Just to say, my college field is not marketing: it's redaction. To summarize, I pretty much spent my time writing different kind of things in college. I'm the one who writes things, you know.

So here is what happened this week that let me think I'm a bad intern.

  • I'm awkward and quiet, and it's worse when I'm anxious. I never been this anxious since a long time, and so I really, really have difficulties talking with my other coworkers since day one. I mean, I say hi and bye everyday, I present myself when I can, and I'm cheerful when they talk to me: but I don't involve myself in their conversations, nor do I try to start one. With how the office is build, I'm out of the principal group, so it's not natural for me to go up and just go talk to them. And it doesn't feel like they really want to talk to me either. I mean, they're o.k, but they don't do anything to involve me in their conversations. I don't blame them, they don't know me. But last week my boss told me I should be more sociable, and be more lay back with them, but I just can't. It's not in my nature and I'm too nervous.
  • The only work I did for now is research. It's boring, but I'm not complaining and do it willingly: I'm a novice, so. But last week, my boss asks me to do a search file for a subject and tell me it's urgent, and I'm like o.k, good! But seriously, I never really did a search file for others. Just for me. So I do it, asks him a feedback. He doesn't say much, but his expression just say anything: he's not pleased. Finally he says it's a good start, but to go deeper, and he gives me a sample. I understood and went deeper: I made a 20 pages thing of this terrible subject with close to zero sources this weekend. I gave him yesterday, he told me he would read it. He didn't give me any feedback yet, so I don't know if I screwed up or not.
  • I say stupid things all the time because I'm nervous. And I asked him very stupid things to try to avoid looking stupid. Like, I couldn't the button to open the computer. It's so dumb, but I couldn't find it! So I preferred to asks him where is the button before going on my knee and searching like an idiot. I still feel like an idiot.
  • Last week I went to a meeting for a big project. We were 4, outside. While my supervisor was talking to another one, a bee came close to my face and stayed there. I'm the kind to jump and run, but I tried to stay still. I ended up making weird noises of fear, completely unprofessional. The fourth guy thought it was funny though.
  • I was more lay back with my supervisor, with a much more colored language. Now I think he could say it's unprofessional (even if he's worse than me)
  • Today, before going to work, I almost vomited: I would've if I have eaten (I intended to do it on the road). So I sent a message to my boss saying I should stay home, I don't want to bring a virus if there's one, I can do all of my work easily from home, send him what he needs, and I would come working friday instead (I work from home friday). Didn't get any response yet, but I already feel like shit to call sick after one week (even if I will work from home)

So here it is. Somewhere I just want to get fired or something: I'm exhausted from the stress, I cried so many times and I'm kind of glad to not go to work this morning. I know it's been only 1 week, and I know it's going to get better, but thinking I'm doing a bad job is just so frustrating.

Update: I think somewhere I'm anxious too because I will be involved in big projects. There's one project that he's particularly fond of, but he need to sell it to the corporation to make it work. He told me I would be the one writing the presentation project, and I NEED to sell it. I'll take the challenge, but I'm scared to fail it and then fail this marketing project.

  • if you feel this way about the internship, you may want to rethink your career choice. Imagine what it will be like when you have responsibility! – SaggingRufus Aug 15 '17 at 12:50
  • Yep, maybe, but I have to say it's not my field. I wasn't really interested in marketing, but it's in a museum, si I though it would mostly be writing for their catalogue or something. And the cultural environment is great in itself. I don't know. It's only been one week, you know. – Browniiesx Aug 15 '17 at 12:54
  • 1
    you might want to talk to a professional. That is a lot of anxiety for one week. If you are really that unhappy you have 2 options. 1) stick it out 2) quit. This isn't really a question of if you are a good intern. There is not a metric for that. No matter what I say, it doesn't really matter because I am not your boss. – SaggingRufus Aug 15 '17 at 12:58
  • 3
    For what it's worth I couldn't find the button on the Dell tower either on my first day. Had to ask someone to turn it on for me. I'm a software developer. – rath Aug 15 '17 at 13:08
  • 2
    I think your being a bit hard on yourself, and should stick it out for at least a couple more weeks. If you still feel the same way after that, then @SaggingRufus first comment applies. – Neo Aug 15 '17 at 13:12

I'm awkward and quiet, and it's worse when I'm anxious

There's nothing wrong with feeling awkward. Awkwardness and embarrassment are normal reactions when you are in a situation where you do not really understand what is expected of you. There's nothing wrong with being quiet, either. Many people are very quiet by nature. Anxiety, however, is a problem in that it can cause you pretty intense suffering. You need to find a way to lessen your anxiety, or you will suffer.

last week my boss told me I should be more sociable

This is their opinion only. There is no requirement for the job you are doing to be more sociable. It's not like you're ignoring everyone. If you don't feel like joining in, accept that this is what you are like. If you feel like you want to join in but don't know how then that is a different matter. Making friends is very hard for the first week in a job, but it's good to remember that everyone (well, most people) have your interests at heart and want to like you.

The only work I did for now is research

This is an internship. It's an opportunity to see if a type of work suits you, if you like it, or if you are good at it. Regardless of the result, this is valuable information. The output of an intern, even if it's stellar, is unlikely to be highly valued by the company anyway. My advice is to stop worrying about the quality of the work you are doing and instead see it as a learning opportunity. Aim to deliver the bare minimum which will fulfil the requirement, rather than pouring yourself into doing a good job of something which was not required.

I say stupid things all the time because I'm nervous

Accept that this will happen. Everyone says stupid things most of the time. Many things that people say during the business day will be biased, one-dimensional, lack research, or be just plain false. Also, sounding stupid to who? How do you know that other people think you sound stupid? Can you read their mind? All you can say for sure is that to your own ear, the things you say sound stupid.

a bee came close to my face and stayed there

It is pretty funny. I don't think anyone was laughing at you, just at the fact that a bee scaring someone in a meeting is probably the most amusing thing they have seen at work for a while. Don't take it personally. I would have laughed too.

I almost vomited

Absolutely take off as much time as you need. There's no point worrying or caring about the impression that taking sick leave makes on your coworkers because there's absolutely nothing you can do about it.

|improve this answer|||||
  • Thank you very much for that. I needed to hear (or read) something like that, I think. My main problem is anxiety. That's what transforms this situation on a very much worse situation than it is. My parents told me I should go consult, and I think it's the best course. – Browniiesx Aug 15 '17 at 13:49
  • 1
    @Browniiesx You should definitely seek professional care for what seems, from my perspective at least, chronic anxiety. (standard disclaimer about diagnosing people online.) I think your feelings are quite normal (I've been there!) but it is taking a huge toll on you and you don't deserve to suffer like this. You'll be ok, so hang in there and get some help if you need it! – 2rs2ts Aug 15 '17 at 19:02

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.