Ahh… Singapore internship. Some see them as springboards to find a permanent job, some see them as places to gain valuable experience, some consider them as part time jobs for students and of course, there are some who are doing internships primarily to build contacts. After all, your network is your net worth, right?
But let’s face it: unlike what you see in movies or TVs, you won’t be stepping into a large company, get belittled by seniors, do something that makes everyone impress and eventually, finish your internship with a standing ovation from your superiors who will engage you the moment you graduate. Instead, some of you might be spending a bulk of your time either photocopying blank papers (just to pass time, you know), or carrying packs of sanity pads from one warehouse to another.
So, what would managers or executives get interns to do? If you’ve been one before, you’ll go, “hey, that’s me!” If you’ve not been to any…then one of these points would be your future.
To be a photocopy expert
Actually, the word “photocopy” here doesn’t exactly refer to the photocopy machine itself, but is used as an abstract adjective. Think about it: if you spend the entire day helping your superior to photocopy documents, you’re basically just someone who is a seat-warmer. A photocopy expert usually helps others to buy coffee, do simple data entry that has been done before and, duh, photocopy things. In other words, no one dares to give you any important responsibilities—unless you consider photocopying to be one.
To be a cheap labour
Once again, it’s an abstract term—but a pretty apt one, too. What you do is simple: you do all the manual and labour-intensive work that everyone in the office is avoiding, like sending documents from one level to another or manning a booth during the weekends alone. Sometimes, you’ll even help out in the warehouse. Experience, they’ll say. But deep in them, you know what they’re thinking: cheap labour. Those interns might as well search for part time jobs in Singapore: they could pay even higher with less work!
To learn and learn and learn
Everyone in the office wants to teach the intern something: from how to photocopy to how to walk like a boss. They’ll bring her to meetings, let her see how they talk to clients and even teach her Photoshop. To be honest, this is much like school but in an environment whereby the intern would learn the art of the trade not through books but through real-life experience. The drawback is, however, that due to the lack of responsibilities, the intern would not learn something more important than anything else: facing the consequences of a mistake or a failure.
To hold great responsibilities
Imagine Googling “internship Singapore”, finding an internship in a company you like, applying for it, going to the office and being told this: “Our sales in the north region has dropped by 50%. You’ll need to increase it by 50%, if not we’re going to retrench sixty employees. You have two months and any resources you need. Kthxbye.”
If you think that’s a hyperbole, think again. Other than the “kthxbye” used by teenager, the fact is that employers sometimes do let interns shoulder great responsibilities. For those who take the responsibilities and perform, it’s inevitable that they’ve more or less secure a job, because after that, the company would most likely engage them.
To be a by-product who doesn’t need to do anything at all. Literally.
Once upon a time, an intern spent one month sitting in a big desk, doing nothing but Facebooking, YouTubing and WhatsApping. Why, you may ask. Because someone up there promised someone something, and that intern is a by-product of their conversation. It’s pretty sad because there are people who sought out internships in Singapore to do something, not to do nothing, and they can’t quit because every day, they’re hoping that they’ll get something the next day…but you’ve guessed it. By-products have no voice.