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Unhappy going to work

I'm an undergraduate majoring in Marketing Management currently undergoing a 4-month internship in a pharmaceutical company. The training in the company allows me to do job rotation and after two weeks in Sales and Marketing Department, I was allocated to the Plant and Facilities

The problem is, the Plant & Facilities department is totally unrelated to
my field of study. I do not think I can contribute as i have no basics nor
interest in engineering or total quality management.

I have spoken to the supervisor regarding this problem but she shut me down by saying other departments do not require my help and I must just accept whatever that is given to me. I feel so helpless, trapped, depressed and unhappy going to work everyday as I have 3 more months to go upon completing the internship. Please advice...I really need it...


Sherry's advice

Dear Lostpinklady;
I'm afraid you are not going to like my advice.

The reality is that most people, at some point or another, will have to go to work everyday doing something is not motivating, not interesting, not challenging, not fun, not educational, not related, not not not etc. etc. etc.... You get the picture! However, take heart! This does not mean that the work cannot be beneficial to your long term career.

So. The question is: How do you make this non-marketing TQM engineering internship relevant and beneficial to you?

Firstly, if you really want to be a good marketer, you need to be able to market anything. You need to be able to market yourself. You should be able to impress the heck out of the department you're working with. It frankly really does not matter if you don't understand or care about TQM. Learn about it and contribute to the best of your ability. If you can impress the pants off of your supervisor with your ability to learn fast, trust me, you won't regret it. Another thing to remember is that you never know what products or services you will be marketing in the future, so getting some of this experience under your belt means that you will be able to speak knowledgeably about this topic to a potential future employer or client.

Secondly, remember that it's all about people and how you deal with them. Learn how the operations of the department works through how people interact with each other and how the politics between them make or break things. Learn why some people are more efficient or effective than others then develop your own style in dealing with colleagues. Most interviews involve soft skills questions about how you would deal with a situation. Why not make this a GREAT example of how you turned lemons into lemonade? Attitude, attitude, attitude! Meaning: have a good one. Better to have 10 people who want to work with you rather than 10 people who might bad mouth you.

Thirdly, fake it until you make it. What I mean is, why waste 3 more months of your internship being depressed? Wake up every morning feeling grateful for an opportunity to prove yourself. Not everyone gets that chance. How great would it be if you ended up with a fabulous recommendation letter from your supervisor along the lines of "I would hire this person back again, she has proven herself totally invaluable to our department. Any employer in any industry would not regret hiring her - what a great team player and positive addition to any team!"

Lastly, provide feedback to your career centre at the university. Just because you can manage to turn a bust into a success does not mean that it should continue. Please, do not whine! Just inform them of what happened in a mature and professional manner. Maintain a good relationship with your career centre and work with one of counselors to ENSURE you can parley this experience into a great entry on your resume.

You are young. Every challenge you face now builds the foundations of the kind of professional you will be in the future. Make every decision count, turn every opportunity into a chance to prove yourself and cherish every minute you can learn something new.

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