If you're a college student or even a high school student, you are constantly reminded that employers are looking for candidates that have experience. Which is pretty twisted considering they want freshly graduated students...with at least two years of prior experience...don't ask me how this possible, but as a "soon-to-be-graduated student" this is the struggle I'm facing while looking for my first accounting position.
We are constantly recommended to take part in an internship or two, to get a first real taste of what the field is like that we have been studying for.
Sounds like a good idea, but being an intern is nothing like actually having a position there...and I can fully attest to this statement.
I was lucky enough to find an internship that asked me to work full time, and the entire summer long. Also they were paying me a pretty good hourly rate, so everything sounded amazing about being an intern there.
I went into the interview having practiced with my dad as to what questions they might ask, and how I would answer those. My dad hires and gives people a job for a living, so he knows a lot about interviewing candidates.
The interview...was quite...interesting? When I left, I wasn't even sure if that was actually the interview, until I received an email asking me to accept the position.
The interview lasted approximately forty five minutes or so, and consisted of them asking me, if I had any questions for them...which completely threw me off, considering I was ready to fire off my answers to any questions they had.
I remember just having to ask them a lot of questions, and the only question they had for me was what I liked doing in my free time. I answered reading, which he then furthered asked me more about what book I had just finished.
The interview ended with them again, asking me if I had any questions, which by this point in time, I thought this whole thing was fake and a waste of time...so in the most sassy way possible, I answered "No! Do you guys have any for me? I feel like you've talked the whole time." They laughed and said no.
I didn't expect to hear anything back, but within just a few days I received the offer.
The first sign of how this internship would be going, is when I first arrived, and they hadn't set up anything for me. There was a desk, with no chair, no computer, and no office supplies. I spent the first two hours standing behind someone, shadowing them and waiting for my desk to set up.
There was never a introduction as to what the company provided, what their beliefs are, or anything in that sense. I was just thrown right in, as if I was an employee training.
The first week was based upon a simple outline, which we stopped following almost immediately. Considering I would be there for almost four months, the outline probably wouldn't have been enough for half of the timeline, anyways.
The toughest and most annoying part, is that I felt the entire time that my "manager" (the controller who was "mentoring" my internship) wasn't interested in having me there. He always pushed me off to someone else, didn't take the time to explain anything, himself, to me and overall just wasn't interest in hosting an intern.
And trust me when I say this, he would consistently remind himself, myself and all of the other employees that my classes would start at the end of September, hinting that this internship would end then as well.
As the intern, there isn't much I can say or do about this, without risking the probability of me being hired on full time.
Another ridiculous thing was that people I was suppose to shadow, themselves, didn't even know what to do with me. I was just pushed off to them, and told to watch what they do. Some people I shadowed weren't even in the accounting field, which confused them (and me) even more.
I spent 8.5 hours, 5 days a week for almost 4 months, mostly sitting around and waiting for something to come my way. Employees didn't want to give up any of their own tasks to me, and would occasionally hint at me to start scanning this document cabinet with papers from the 1970's. I knew all along that I was here to learn about accounting and how it's used in daily tasks, not to become someone office assistant, scanning papers that no one has looked at since they were created.
As the internship was coming closer to an end, I was still unsure as to whether it would continue on throughout school. I was told initially in the "interview" that it most likely would, but throughout the entire program it was never mentioned again. The only reason as to why I wanted it to was that it would likely lead to a full time position, which would be amazing to have a job lined up before graduating.
I asked the CFO, and he said yes it would. A week later he came back to me and informed that it wouldn't and he apologized...at this point in time I was just frustrated and done wasting my time and learning nothing. I still had two weeks left, wanted to make the extra pocket money, and keep my reference, instead of just walking out.
On my last day, I was given a review sheet, where they explained to me how I performed. Again, it was very vague, and didn't make much sense. One point they attempted to make was that I should have taken notes and asked more questions. But I should have taken notes instead of asking questions as well...but I should have felt comfortable asking questions.
Half of the time they would treat me and make me feel like I was an employee there, and should take initiate as if I was. Then the next moment they would treat me like a intern and ask me to back off.
I spent the last four months completely confused, stressed and filled with anxiety.
Looking back at things, I'm grateful that the internship didn't continue throughout the school year. With the stress and knowledge that no one wanted me there was plenty of reason not to continue. I may have not learned a lot of accounting, but I did learn a lot about life and what I want in mine.
Would I take part in another internship?
I might. But most likely not, considering I'm done with my bachelor's degree by March and hope to have a full time accounting position by then.
I would love to hear about your internship experiences, so please feel free to comment down below with them!!