How To Adjust To Work Culture As An Intern
Job Hunting

How To Adjust To Work Culture As An Intern

Being an intern can be one of the most fulfilling moments in your life. Just think about attending meetings in a real office and being able to wear corporate attire to show up at work. All of a sudden, you’re starting to feel like a responsible adult! 

Just like the adulting world though, your internship experience might not always be as perfect as it seems. There are times when you might want to give up and succumb to the pressure coming from your strict supervisor. You might begin having mixed feelings about your small allowance and the neverending list clipped on your desk. In other words, being an intern can be a pretty tough experience.

Before you even think of the word quit, remember why you applied for an internship in the first place. You wanted to learn the ropes, right? Go for it then. Here’s the game plan: adapt and conquer. Grab this chance to be the rockstar intern that you’re meant to be! 

1. Negotiate your terms respectfully.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate an agreement with your boss. It’s you’re right as an intern after all. If you ever find yourself in the middle of a negotiation, remember to be respectful in sending your message across. Be extra mindful of your tone and choice of words. An internship may not be a real job but you still have to act like a professional.

You can negotiate alternative payment options like requesting for a food and transportation allowance instead. You can also negotiate to be compensated for products or services! Choose whatever option works best for you.

PSA: Dealing with overtime (illegal) while receiving zero compensation is not reasonable at all. The exploitation of students is not cool. Write a letter to the HR department. Negotiate your terms. Get your internship job done. That’s how you become a rockstar intern!

2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

It’s okay to feel clueless during your first day of internship. The truth is, no one expects you to know everything on your first day, not even your supervisor. If you don’t understand the instructions of your task, drop your questions. If you want to know more about the culture in the workplace, ask about it. It just shows how passionate you are in handling your internship role.  

How do I ask if I’m getting paid or not? Should I get higher pay? What are my job requirements exactly? These are the questions that you think might put you in an awkward position. Well, the answer really depends on the situation you’re in. But hey, there’s nothing wrong about asking the terms of your internship. Knowing these things will allow you to understand what is expected of you as an intern.

ICYMI: Being able to ask relevant questions is a skill that matters at work, especially in group meetings. Who knows? With your diligent personality, your company might just offer you a full-time job.

3. Seek advice from your workmates.

Whether it’s career or life advice, your seniors at work would always be happy to guide you. Take the initiative to spark a conversation at the pantry. Attend events and you just might be invited to grab a coffee or play foosball at the common area. Take note of your environment and dress up accordingly (we have a fool-proof office style guide for that!).

There’s no better way to learn about the adulting world than asking your colleagues who have been on the job for years. Keeping in touch with them will also open more opportunities for you in the future!

Speak your mind. Ask the right questions. Step up your internship experience to the next level! Check out our Job Hunting section for more info, advice, and hacks to set you up for success in your internship!