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Bad Intern Experience Advice

Bad Intern Experience Advice

Bad Intern Experience Advice

I recently graduated with a bachelor's degree in industrial and manufacturing systems engineering. I decided to do a post-grad internship before committing to a full-time job. I was told the internship would deal with logistics/shipping problems in an attempt to establish a more efficient standard procedure for the company. Unfortunately, after compiling my initial data and putting together a presentation for the project, I seem to have been forgotten about. My presentation ended up never happening. I ask my manager daily what the next step or project should be, or what he would like me to get started on. He continuously tells me he has nothing for me or gives me some pointless busy work that has little or nothing to do with engineering. In the mean time, I've asked co-workers if they need help with anything, and I have occasionally received smaller tasks, but still tasks that really don't relate to engineering. My internship is supposed to end in December, and after that I will be looking for a full time job. At this point, I don't think I want to pursue a career in logistics and want to get into the manufacturing side of things. I feel that I am at a disadvantage now since I have gained little experience from current internship in a field that I don't think I will enjoy. I don't know if I could find a entry-level job for a manufacturing engineer due to my previous experience.

I'm looking for any advice on how to deal with my current internship and what to do to get into a manufacturing role.

Thank you in advance.

RE: Bad Intern Experience Advice

Some random thoughts:
> Perhaps you've been approaching people the wrong way, since their needing help could be perceived pejoratively; rather, you might consider asking people if there has been any infrastructure problems that you can help to alleviate or solve.

> Same with your manager, ask him if there are long-standing issues that you could possibly solve or alleviate

> Is there anything you have observed that could be streamlined or improved?

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Bad Intern Experience Advice

I worked an internship that turned into a part-time job while still in school that turned into nothing once the company moved across the country and subsequently went belly-up in the midst of the recession a few months before I graduated. The company was run....oddly and it closed up shop for good reason. My position and work there had nothing to do with what I did after graduating or what I am doing now. However, having the experience of working in a dysfunctional environment has been invaluable for my career thus far.

Learn everything you can. Try to get involved with the areas you are actually interested in and figure out how that makes you good candidate for other environments. Focus on the general skills and project types rather than the specifics and see how you can relate those to broader manufacturing issues. You'll need to find an entry level position to get into manufacturing, but that would've been true even with a more specifically related internship anyway. Take the experience for what it is worth and learn how best to play it up on your resume.

Andrew H.

RE: Bad Intern Experience Advice

I would probably approach my dilemma as IRstuff suggests. I would proactively seek something to do that the company may not have though of. When you ask you boss, I bet they never set back and think about what you might could do, they just rapidly dismiss you. You may need to do some thinking first and make suggestions as IR indicated.

For example, I would ask if I could pretty much simulate the work flow of a project by moving through the company and asking questions. I mean the whole process such as Client calls in for a new project, company responds, creates a design, makes the drawing, sends an invoice etc. I would request to step through the entire process. The bigger the company, the worse the intercommunication typically is. You would be amazed at the needless tasks performed, miscommunication etc. Most miscommunication happens at a non-human interface. Put your finished work in a basket that goes to someone you never see is what I mean. If you were to see them, there is less miscommunication.

Here are 2 examples. With the increased use of computers, these could have been more easily handled but these are 2 examples of human involvement not logical thinking.

I used to work for a large fortune 500 company. There used to be about 20 people who got a daily printed report. 12 of the people had no idea why they go it. The cost of just the paper alone for a year was $2,500 in 1988 money. How did this happen? Person A got and needed the report. Person B thought they were as important as A, so they also wanted a copy. B's position has no need for the report. Person B dies, retires, changes departments or takes a different job. Their replacement (Person C), gets a report they do not need. They assume the job needs it even though they never use it. So they keep getting the report and stacking it up in their office. Also, one of them (Person D) had the same exact job as C, so when they found out C was getting it they naturally assumed they needed it also since they have the identical job. After that, only 8 copies were printed and the employee that delivers them is getting done in half the time.

I saw a project tech taking a printed list of numbers with decimal and rewriting it in fraction form on another piece of paper. 192-3/16 is 192.1875 for example. There were about 100 numbers and the fractions were to the 32nd. I asked him why. The next department to use these numbers had to input them in fraction form into a computer program. The system was that the Project Tech did the conversion. Two months later, I am in someone else's work area and note they have a similar list from the same Project Tech. They are keying the fraction value in as a decimal. I ask them why. They tell me their program only takes decimal so they have to convert to fraction to decimal. I told them to call the Project Tech, he has the whole thing in decimal already. What happened? Years ago they mentioned the need for decimal input but it never happened. Then in a newer release, someone changed to decimal input. There have been so many people shift jobs, quit etc that they forgot the Project Techs original have these in decimal form. That was 2 people in the same company that do not directly communicate doing needless work. These 2 people never actually talked to each other. Part of the Project Tech outbasket contents went to the manufacturing staff.

RE: Bad Intern Experience Advice

I wouldn't sweat about doing an internship in the 'wrong' field. In my first year at work among other random tasks I walked around the site trying to find 'lost' semi trailers, and did the wages one week- standing behind a counter handing out packets of cash.

I don't think either job really stunted my career.


Greg Locock

New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

RE: Bad Intern Experience Advice

I can't disagree with any of the above advice. However...

'twere it me, I'd consider moving to a different internship, assuming I could find one in a short period of time. When speaking with the other companies, discuss your concerns with your current position and why you're looking to shift mid-internship. The new company (if they're smart) will see your desire to actually do the job you were hired to do and should snap you up in a heartbeat.

Dan - Owner

RE: Bad Intern Experience Advice

You learned that you don't want to do logistics and shipping. Valuable lesson right there.

The company you are in now sounds rather typically disfunctional.

It's not an intern's job to fix that.

But you can study the causes and effects and take that learning with you.

RE: Bad Intern Experience Advice

An internship won't disqualify you from entry level positions in another field. You should be able to articulate why manufacturing interests you apart from it not being logistics. You should be able to discuss the work you did during the internship to demonstrate underlying skills like problem solving approach and people skills. It's good that you found what you're not interested, but like posters above have mentioned, don't let that stop you from being open to learning about as much as you can - you'll be surprised by when that information helps you out.

RE: Bad Intern Experience Advice

Forget the internships, you've already graduated. Continuing to fill an intern's slot doesn't magically extend the collegiate portion of your resume, what you did and didn't accomplish in that time period is what it is. If you did extraordinary things great, if not then move on and work harder as you begin your career. If the current employer is a mess or doesn't have salaried junior engineer positions available then show some initiative and move on asap. Junior engineers are pretty equally marketable so don't think yourself as disqualified from consideration for any role within your degree field. You may be slightly less experienced/educated/etc compared to peers, but you wont know until you apply.

I always recommend starting your career in a mega-corp to learn the structure and process of proper engineering. Large companies usually have various rotational development programs that expose fresh grads to various roles and locations within the company that they might go into or need to work with. For a junior engineer that might be a few months in product design followed by several months each in research, marketing/product definition, customer service, and/or manufacturing at different facilities. Large companies typically also have valuable training and certifications much more readily available as they budget and repeatedly buy X classes for Y employees on A-Z subjects, so getting placed in the semi-annual GD&T, lean or agile manufacturing, or niche engineering training isn't overly difficult compared to convincing the boss at a tiny firm to spend $1k to send an employee that probably wont be around in five years to a class they don't absolutely need. Lastly, take any/all training offered regardless if it directly adds value to your role or not. I believe most folks despise the lean & agile training most companies today make them suffer through until they have to lead significant work themselves, then the various organizational methods, fishbone diagrams, etc become invaluable.

Best of luck regardless.

RE: Bad Intern Experience Advice

Daniel Pink has an interesting take: https://www.danpink.com/2013/05/the-6-essential-le... Essentially, there is no "plan," and your plan should be to be flexible and open to changes that inevitably occur. For example, I planned to be an EE since 7th grade, and graduated EE, but only worked EE for about 7 years, and wound up in EO. And I wouldn't wish it to be any different, now.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Bad Intern Experience Advice

Quote (A-Pope)

do a post-grad internship before committing to a full-time job.

I assumed this statement meant you were doing a grad-school with internship thing. If you are not in grad school, I agree with CWB1, look for better digs. Sounds like where you are at is a waste of time.

RE: Bad Intern Experience Advice

Yes, better to start in huge corp engineering to learn the processes, experience a mentor, etc... Alot of smaller companies people wear a lot of hats and don't have time to mentor.

RE: Bad Intern Experience Advice

"Alot of smaller companies people wear a lot of hats and don't have time to mentor."

True, but, by that same token, following around someone like that exposes one to a myriad of different hats to wear, as compared to a large corporation where everyone is highly specialized. In some respects, it's better because the smaller company environment potentially allows the intern to see more, do more, and then decide what they really want to do, wear multiple hats, or wear only one.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Bad Intern Experience Advice

I don't think mentoring takes that as much time for the Mentor as it doe the Mentee. The Mentor asks challenging questions to help guide the thinking process and also assist them with the structural areas that their formal education did not cover due to limited time. The Mentor would direct them on where to get information on a round concrete wastewater tank design, not present a course on it. The Mentor would ask them why they chose a braced frame rather than a clear span to see if they even thought about it. So I think a Mentor in any size company can find time. It is to their benefit. The faster you get the Newbie up to speed, the faster you get some relief.

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