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Thursday, March 24, 2005

The Phases of an internship in France

Well tomorrow marks the end of my first full month in my internship; this marks the end of Danielle’s second month. During this first month I always came home and talked about my feelings with the internship with Danielle. Danielle, being a month ahead of me could relate to everything I was saying as it seems she went thru the same feeling/phases I did at about the same point in time in internship as I did. Finding it quite humorous I’ve decided to go through the phases we both went thru during our first month to give you all a peek at how my first month went. Neither one of us having completed an internship in the States it’s hard to say whether or not we would have had the same phases or similar ones had we not been in France; however here they are for your enjoyment.

Phase 1: This isn’t so bad
During the first few days the internship is almost exciting. It’s something new to do with my days and I’m getting paid! The work isn’t glamorous by any means, but it’s tolerable and hey it’s just an internship.

Phase 2: I gotta get new internship now!
After the newness has worn off I now realize that I’m not learning any skills and get so bored that there’s no way I can stay here and do this for 6 months. Feel the need to find an internship in my field that’s going to teach me the skills I need and give me that quality experience I’m in need of to get a good job.

Phase 3: I guess I can hold out for 6 months
Come to terms with the fact that it’s more logical to ride out with this internship since I already have it and it was so difficult to find in the first place. New plan now is to ride out for at least the 3 mandatory months then start looking for a job.

Phase 4: I think everyone thinks I’m weird or is talking about me behind my back
Here’s where the language starts to come into play. You don’t speak much at work, not unless you’re spoken to. You listen to conversations in the office but don’t participate unless it’s a yes or no answer. When I go get lunch I simply get up and leave instead of asking if anyone wants something or saying that I’ll be back in a bit. I feel that it probably seems odd to them since they always announce their arrivals and departures, etc. I also have a sneaking suspicion that they talk about me and my language ability behind my back.

Phase 5: I can’t do this for 6 months!
Back to similar feelings as in phase 2, now strive for a position where I feel more accepted and can get better experience. Realize in reality though that’s not gonna happen.

Phase 6: I think they’re finally letting me into their “group”
The French aren’t the most welcoming of people and it’s difficult to make friends with them. It took 3 weeks for them to even ask me any kind of personal question and only after these 3 weeks did they find out I went to school in Malibu (which they were quite excited about because of Baywatch!). Suddenly they’re actually trying to involve me in their conversations. Now feeling a little more accepted and not as paranoid as before that they’re talking about me; however, still feel they probably think I’m an idiot.

Phase 7: Oh more responsibilities, maybe I should stay
Supervisor has a meeting with me informing me that they want to give me more responsibilities and things to work on. Ok, maybe I will get some good experience and maybe even more responsibilities in the future. I should stay, I mean after all I’m already here and am finally entering their “circle”.

Phase 8: I have NOTHING to do and I’m so bored
The extra responsibilities have yet to fully surface and I find myself with less work to do a lot of times. Starting to surf the internet more for my own purposes but still worried someone will catch me so always have some of my work in a window that can quickly be pulled up. Slowly developing a tolerance for boredom.

Phase 9: Who cares what they think about me
Keeping in mind that they can’t really fire me unless I do something horrible, and still reminding myself that I’m only an intern I stop caring as much what they think about me and don’t even bother trying to hide
that I’m surfing the net for my own purposes. At this point even start looking for jobs while at work.

8 comments:

Geneva said...

This actually sounds like most job phases. Just remember it is only an internship and will be over soon. Then on to graduation and a great future with hopefully a job you will love!
Geneva

Michelle said...

Does this sound like a Seinfeld episode pitch to anyone else? This would have been a classic!!!

timoyager said...

hi!!..enjoy both your blog and your .com..feel we know much more about you..reading it to your grandmother, luv, john

laurie said...

Hang in there girl - I had much the same experience as an intern - the language barrier just happened to be between "Valley Girl" and "Texan"...I became better at "Wow that's really AWESOME" and "Gag me!" and after twenety years, I fit right in! :~)

Nick N. said...

I say if nothing seems to develop, bail after the 4 month. Wait for the last pay check in the 4th month and go and enjoy France. What can they really do, I mean I've been living here illegally since December just to avoid paying visa fees. After all why should we give the French any satisfaction after they've put us through so many hardships?

Ciao.

Mom said...

OK, so who is this Nick guy, telling you to break French Laws? LOL...just kidding. See you in a few days. BLOG more often. Your fans await.

Lori said...

I live by phase 8. I'm at work right now and I'm reading your blog and iming you.....but I do have all my work related windows minimized just in case my manager happens to pop over I can click to one of those screens and he's none the wiser. It's the perfect crime.

gingie said...

LOL you crack me up! That is exactly how starting a new job is. Just hang in there. It's always easier to get through things when there is a light at the end of the tunnel. For example, my job at GSE or everyday subbing.