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ShelfLife Magazine:Dealing with intern boredom
Posted on May 11, 2012
Published in ShelfLife Magazine September 2011
With Jobs Bridge, the governments Internship program in full swing and colleges around Ireland welcoming back their students, it is certainly topical to examine internships and the best way to get the most from entry level positions.
When we speak to candidates in entry level roles, one of the most common complaints we hear from young professionals is that they are bored, underutilized and not given enough responsibility in their roles. This is can be put down to two things. Firstly the nature of an entry level position is just that, it is entry level and the work is from the ground up but secondly, managers can be nervous about delegating too much responsibility to someone without any experience. What also compounds this is that today’s students and graduates are in the main experienced, motivated and very computer literate and the menial tasks of an entry level position can be found to be boring.
Adding to this problem of boredom is the culture of ‘Face Time’ in many Irish businesses, both office and retail based. This is where employees feel pressure to be first in and last to leave, out staying their boss, regardless of the workload or the ability to complete it. This invariably leads to less efficiency, people feel penalized when they finish work too quickly.
After finishing education, filled with enthusiasm and ambition, the letdown of insignificant workloads can cause feelings of worthlessness. Our early work experiences are a dangerous time to be bored at work because we are now forming on-the-job habits which, like any habit, will be hard to break.
Even without a large and interesting workload, there are constructive ways to both fill up time and further your career:
Why not begin the day by writing down your "five before five" This is a list of things you really want to accomplish in the day and enjoy the satisfaction of completing it.
Be honest with your line manager and ask for more work. They will appreciate your efficiency and enthusiasm along with your ability to get the job done fast and reward you with a more challenging set of tasks.
Find a Mentor. Look to the strongest member of the team to help you think of ways to increase and diversify your tasks by explaining the various parts of their role, look to assist them any way you can and develop skills required in your industry or organization. A mentor can be any person with a career track to which you aspire.
Keep up with the news in your industry, try to add value by being up to date and current on any new developments in your industry and apply these or indeed highlight them when possible
Set up a meeting with a co-worker or supervisor to discuss the status of a project. Let them know that you are interested in becoming more involved.
When you pass the time at work with work-related activities rather than surfing the net, or stretching your work load, you feel better about yourself at the end of the day. You feel that you have really learned more that you can apply to other jobs in the future and most importantly, the time flies