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    #1

    Hello,

    I thought it would be appropriate to come onto this forum to discuss an issue that has been bugging me for a while. (Sorry if this is quite long).

    Background

    I am a Undergrad Business Management student currently doing a 12 month placement at a company that produces flooring for industrial purposes. My role is within Sales, I am basically doing online research for projects that the sales personnel can potentially sell flooring to. I have been doing this since July.

    My job basically involves me Googling construction projects, logging them onto a excel database and emailing the pdf printout to regional sales personnel. Thats it.

    The Problem..

    I feel that I have not fitted into this company very well, people have awkward personalities and everyone seems to be mates with each other apart from me. I get along with everyone but it sucks not being with friends, I was the only one at uni who was lucky enough to get a sandwich placement.

    Honestly I do not want to bring race or culture into this, but I am the only 'minority' in this workplace. Could it be because of this? We certainly do not have the same interests at all, but I should be treated the same. Right?

    More so the job itself has had NO development, I have been employed to do the same job for the past 6 months. I have learned nothing other than having to deal with peoples weird closed attitudes at this workplace.

    I feel that I have been employed for the sake of the company meeting a requirement to have an intern. They have taught me nothing about sales/marketing or business, it has little to no relevance to my degree which I will be finishing next year.

    My boss was friendly/welcoming at first but soon distanced himself. It just feels awkward when he is around, he doesn't really want to talk to me, when he does he is very cocky and condescending.

    When he isn't around the other members of the office do not want to talk about anything either. Being in my early 20's it can be extremely awkward trying to get along with miserable middle-aged men and women who hate their jobs. Another sad thing is that 80% of the time I am alone in this open office as the people who are there mostly work from home.

    Solutions?

    Well, I have felt like expressing my feelings to my manager. But my only worry is that he doesn't care or listen, nor will his boss. Everyone has something much more important to worry about so my issues are left out on the side.

    Plus people can be very condescending and will think that I am being disrespectful, or a pain in the a$$.

    I have thought about talking to my careers adviser at uni, but she does not reply to emails quickly nor does she have time to listen my issues. Plus she will simply want to talk to my boss which is going to put me into even worse terms with him making it even more awkward. (Imagine trying to get on with someone after you grassed them up).

    I would love to leave but, I have committed to this and I must save up enough so I can pay for my final year (yes like most of you I am also broke). Plus I cannot go back to Uni because its simply too late, I can only go back in September now. Applying for another job could take months.

    Final words

    I hope this doesn't seem like a cry for sympathy because it isn't, sure my life has been crap ever since I started this job but my friends and parents have been supportive. Sadly their advice isn't much good. I hope one of you guys could give me your take on this.

    Cheers.
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    Does the company have a history of taking placement students or are you the first. While a large organisation will have procedures in place to stretch the student, a business taking someone on an ad hoc basis may not. Some smaller businesses simply need an extra member of staff for a fixed period.

    To the other staff, particularly if they are older and of long standing you are simply someone coming to do a specific job for a short length of time, and they probably think they are doing enough by simply being pleasant. You are the one who will leave going on to (hopefully) better things while they are stuck with jobs they dislike. I would be extremely surprised if your race has anything to do with it. Simple fact - a young, ambitious 20 year old has very little in common with middle aged employees who are preoccupied with their own work and family situations.

    Have you asked your manager if you can perhaps sit in on meetings as a learning experience, or ask if you can be involved in activity "a,b or c" because they would be useful to your studies and you could manage it alongside your existing work? If you seem keen and ask to do things that may get you further. The experience will not be wasted as it is giving you real world experience and a reference. Be as proactive as you can in getting as much out of it as possible.

    Best of luck.
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    Heres what I might think if I was your boss: Ive taken on an intern. All he does is sit and google construction projects all day. He's shown no interest in taking on new projects. He hasn't approached me to see if his role can be extended. It doesnt seem like he's interested in taking on additional responsibility. He seems to have no passion for the job.

    You need to take responsibility for your own progression. Your boss isn't there to hold your hand. If you want more, then ask for more. How would anyone know you weren't enjoying what you were doing when you haven't spoken up for the last 6 months? The working world is competitive and people are always trying to progress. By sitting back and doing nothing you'll just be left to it, but you'll also be constantly overlooked.
    • #1
    • Thread Starter
    #1

    Thanks for the positive reply Marple.

    Yes there was a placement student before me, he taught me the ins and outs of the role before he went back to uni. I just had the feeling that he was itching to leave for that two weeks!

    Activity wise, I have been in two meetings but I just feel out of place it sucks being a spectator and not having a clue what they are on about. It's also painfully boring, I enjoy Uni because I am learning something new, here it is so mundane. Thanks.
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    (Original post by josh_v)
    Heres what I might think if I was your boss: Ive taken on an intern. All he does is sit and google construction projects all day. He's shown no interest in taking on new projects. He hasn't approached me to see if his role can be extended. It doesnt seem like he's interested in taking on additional responsibility. He seems to have no passion for the job.

    You need to take responsibility for your own progression. Your boss isn't there to hold your hand. If you want more, then ask for more. How would anyone know you weren't enjoying what you were doing when you haven't spoken up for the last 6 months? The working world is competitive and people are always trying to progress. By sitting back and doing nothing you'll just be left to it, but you'll also be constantly overlooked.
    See Josh, I'd love to think that this is the case and that it's me that needs to pull their finger out.

    I have asked if there is anything else I can do relative to this role and his reply is "I am in touch with marketing over a research project you can do". This was back in November, he has the same reply even when I asked just last week.

    He is pre-occupied with his own job, its blatantly obvious. Plus the company should have a pre-planned curriculum for an intern so that they actually learn something, various projects etc.
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    See Josh, I'd love to think that this is the case and that it's me that needs to pull their finger out.

    I have asked if there is anything else I can do relative to this role and his reply is "I am in touch with marketing over a research project you can do". This was back in November, he has the same reply even when I asked just last week.

    He is pre-occupied with his own job, its blatantly obvious. Plus the company should have a pre-planned curriculum for an intern so that they actually learn something, various projects etc.
    Personally this is what I would do:

    Id do everything I felt seemed reasonable to help myself by actively seeking out other opportunities within the company. Talk to people other than my direct boss. Maybe try and meet people from other departments. Perhaps if you go to your boss and tell him you'd like to work on a particular project and you've already spoken to that department and all he has to do is agree it then you might get further.

    This might not work though. It can be difficult to do and as you say, people arent necessarily open and welcoming. If this doesnt work, (and if the year placement has no impact on uni grading) id probably just begin to do the bare minimum. Id put it down to bad luck and accept that it isn't going to change. You have something to put on your CV that you can use to boost applications - even if youre somewhat liberal with the truth when describing what you did on this placement.

    If your uni allows it, Id then start looking for a summer internship elsewhere if theres anything still about. Perhaps get in contact with careers team at your uni and see if they can help you. If the company youre currently working for arent willing to do anything to help you, theres no reason you should be willing to help them. Essentially they are using you for what they want, so dont be afraid to do the same. I don't think leaving after 9 months would look terrible on your CV and probably just looks like that was the duration of the placement (at least thats how id word it) and it gives you the opportunity to gain more experience.

    Ive worked with a lot of people who think they owe a company something. Most companies don't particularly care about employees. They will take as much as they can from you, but not hesitate to pull you up if you slightly do something wrong. You have to consider why you are there. Are you there to help them sell more flooring or are you there to boost your CV and gain some experience.
    • #1
    • Thread Starter
    #1

    (Original post by josh_v)
    Personally this is what I would do:

    Id do everything I felt seemed reasonable to help myself by actively seeking out other opportunities within the company. Talk to people other than my direct boss. Maybe try and meet people from other departments. Perhaps if you go to your boss and tell him you'd like to work on a particular project and you've already spoken to that department and all he has to do is agree it then you might get further.

    This might not work though. It can be difficult to do and as you say, people arent necessarily open and welcoming. If this doesnt work, (and if the year placement has no impact on uni grading) id probably just begin to do the bare minimum. Id put it down to bad luck and accept that it isn't going to change. You have something to put on your CV that you can use to boost applications - even if youre somewhat liberal with the truth when describing what you did on this placement.

    If your uni allows it, Id then start looking for a summer internship elsewhere if theres anything still about. Perhaps get in contact with careers team at your uni and see if they can help you. If the company youre currently working for arent willing to do anything to help you, theres no reason you should be willing to help them. Essentially they are using you for what they want, so dont be afraid to do the same. I don't think leaving after 9 months would look terrible on your CV and probably just looks like that was the duration of the placement (at least thats how id word it) and it gives you the opportunity to gain more experience.

    Ive worked with a lot of people who think they owe a company something. Most companies don't particularly care about employees. They will take as much as they can from you, but not hesitate to pull you up if you slightly do something wrong. You have to consider why you are there. Are you there to help them sell more flooring or are you there to boost your CV and gain some experience.
    Thanks for the reply Josh.

    Your points are food for thought, I will speak to the customer services office (they are next door and predominantly handle phone calls).

    The only reason why I did this was to put somehting on my CV, I have told myself "beggars
    can't be choosers" and I am very fortunate to have a placement seeing as most of my classmates are still at Uni. But it shouldnt have to be this bad, surely.
 
 
 
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