A few months ago I was looking for internships to apply to. I feel like I am at a level where I needed more hands on, real world experience. I found, applied to, and was accepted by a company based in the U.S. I later discovered it was a remote position (I suppose they had placed their ad for interns broadly). It looks to be a small design company, but recently I have started feeling wary and am wondering if I should stay and see the internship through or politely resign. My dilemma is the following:
1.) I signed a contract agreeing to a 6-month internship in November 2018 and only now (January 2019) am being given a project, which is not the project I was first told I would be working on and to me seems like a “filler” project.
2.) When asking about more information for the site and extended guidance on designing it, I am told “We want to see what you would make without any outside interference.” As such, I only know what type of website I am to build–no images, no copy, no time frame for when it’s to be completed, or requirements of the site.
3.) I don’t have access to any other employees/interns for input, perhaps because I am remote.
4.) In addition to not really knowing what is expected of me, I am unclear as to what the benefits of an internship is supposed to be. Are there standards, either official or unspoken, as to what an intern should expect? I thought I would have insight as to how a small tech company works, but 3 months in, I have no idea.
This part isn’t terribly uncommon. It’s very common with new hires - and even more so with interns - for companies not to actually know what to have them do when they first show up, or not have a good exciting project that they are ready to jump into.
That’s weird. I don’t even understand how that would work.
You should absolutely have access to other developers. If this company hires remote workers, there should be a strong culture of using chat services, email, or phone conversations to stay in close contact.
You should absolutely be getting paid. You should be learning from experienced professionals. You should be gaining experience in how to work on a professional project. You should be learning how to work with a shared codebase. You should be learning how to work with professional restrictions and expectations.
Thanks so much, Ariel. It’s an unpaid internship, which I didn’t question having been an unpaid intern for non-tech internships. I was told there would be an opportunity to be brought on part-time or full-time depending on my work.
As a comparison I can give you some details about my internship that started beginning of the week and it is also remote. It is unpaid too, but for me only reason why I can accept this is that I will learn something.
On first day I was I introduced to the documentation, I have to say it was pretty well organized and I have access to everything.
I have been introduced to all tools like communication, planning etc.
There was a documentation to help me out on setting up my environment and I was guided when I had some issues.
Once everything was setup, I could run the app with the server and start playing with it. So on day 2 I started working on some features and did my first pull request!!
I am already in contact with all the developers and product team, this weekend I will have my first meetings with all of the teams.
If you accepted an unpaid internship it is probably because you want to learn something, get used working with a team, sharing a codebase, having new challenges everything that is different from working alone so you can apply to a position after 3 or 6 month once you feel more confident.
As I read you it seems that you don’t have any specified task, don’t work with a team, learn nothing so you are wasting your time.
You can probably break the contract, there are lots of companies looking for interns and ready to give up some time to train them. I would recommend you to select a startup not to big but with real projects. In a smaller team you will have more responsibilities!
I hope this helps a bit, don’t remain frustrated, ask for explanations and go through your contract, it’s probably pretty basic so you should be able to break it easily.