B Stuff et cetera

A blog about (snow)Boarding and Business school

Internship experience

Posted by forlogos on July 7, 2007

I work in a madhouse. Whatever image the company website provides is just that, an image. The truth is that it is a poorly run organization, which stems from its management.

A few days before my first day I received an email outlining the orientation/training schedule for the first day. This further made me think that this was a good company and a great choice for my internship. The orientation was scheduled to run the whole day or about seven hours. In actuality it was finished in three hours and was comprised mostly of do and don’ts and gave no info about the company. Some of the do’s included do fill your timesheet and always come in time. Some don’ts were don’t surf the web, IM, or use your cellphone. The orientation was basically all that. No history of the company, no orgchart, nothing.

Right after orientation me and another marketing major were introduced to the business owner. The company had just closed a deal to do some market reports for 6 Korean clients wanting to break into the US market. So she (the owner) gave me and the other marketing person print-outs of a 150 slide powerpoint presentation, which she claims to have put together in five minutes. So without knowing anything about the six clients, what their products or goals were, we had to edit the slides down so that only the relevant slides would be left. er????????

After an hour or so of doing this, she (let’s call her Z) pulled me to find wholesalers and distributors for the clients and tells me what their products are. She hands me a giant hardbound 2002 directory of wholesalers and distributors and tells me to mark the good companies so we can later type them up. Anyway, I do that for a while and I convince her to get the newer, online version of the wholesalers and distributors book (W&D from now on). It is being purchased as I leave for the day.

When I come in the day after, Z starts telling me all about the online W&D she bought and that I should start using it. She says this as if she had never seen me before and has no recollection of my part in getting the online W&D. So anyway, I start using it and assemble a good list for the six clients. I then join the other marketing people in doing market research for the clients.

I come in the next day and there are no computers available. There are no assigned computers actually. You basically come in and hope that there is one available for you to use. You can mark them by putting a physical tag on the machine, but no one pays attention to the tags so you always have to save your work to the network if you have to leave your machine for a bit or someone else will use the machine. Everyone is encouraged in bring in their own personal laptops so they can work. Isn’t that just wrong? Additionally, besides the owner, there are only two paid employees. The rest of the company is composed of unpaid interns. When the internship started, there was over 25 interns, now there’s about 15 left. So basically the company couldn’t do any of their work without unpaid interns. This is also wrong. We (interns) do all the work, have to fill out timesheets, and such, which in a way makes us treated as employees. According to how I understand the federal Fair Labor Standards Act this is illegal. See this post at the Unfair Internship Blog and the links to this MSNBC/AP article. Unfortunately, I’ve been too busy training BJJ and dealing with school work to figure out how to anonymously report this company for violating the FLSA. Hopefully I can find out how to do this soon.

Anyway, since there are no computers available Z sends me to the library to do research and download research papers and such for free. When I come back near the end of the day, Z had someone else do (read: repeat) the W&D work that I did the day before. This goes on for two more weeks. Z keeps asking people to do the W&D work, without remembering that other people already finished it, even if we tell her. So we end up with 20+ versions of the damn W&D lists. Anyway, it doesn’t take us long to figure out and for the one paid employee to tell us that we shouldn’t listen to her or do what she asks. In any case Z is driving her company down.

The W&D is just one example of her craziness and the absurdness of this internship. I can’t believe I left my well-paying job for this.

In any case, experience is experience and I can not only add this to my resume but can also use this to help me complete my career shift.

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3 Responses to “Internship experience”

  1. Nugae said

    OK, I take it all back, this isn’t a normal small company, it’s a phenomenon!

    The 10 interns who left are writing screenplays about the experience. The 15 who remain are still gathering material for theirs.

  2. exintern said

    Your workplace seems to clearly go against the law. I wish I knew how to report, but I don’t yet. That’s why if you find out – and I hope you will, as you got a great case – I will put it on UnfairInternships.com.

  3. forlogos said

    what’s sad is that so many interns out there don’t know an illegal internship from a legal one…

    I ‘m currently trying to report this and will be blogging about my progress. It would be great to have the info I find at UnfairInternships.com and even better to get the word out to as many students as possible

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