There is a lot of pressure in getting an internship during your college years. Our generation wants to propel themselves so that they can achieve their goals. However, a lot of companies have lost their way in what it means to employ an intern.
As a member of Gen Z, we want to be involved. It is easy to think we are lazy and like to take the easy way out. However, not all of us are like that. Actually, most of us are not like that.
We have seen the mistakes the generations before us have made, and we do not want to repeat the pattern.
For me, I want to be fully immersed in the company or organization I am interning with. I want to learn the ins and outs and be treated more like an employee than an intern.
The truth is, we can handle a lot more than you think, and we want to take on that workload. We want to learn and gain valuable work experience. We do not want to get coffee or pick up lunch. We want to be a part of the planning and the thinking. We want to be a part of creating a network, figuring out the problems, etc.
The worst thing would be getting a job that you are “qualified for,” but you really do not know what you are doing. Companies should prepare interns so that they would be an outstanding candidate to work with after the internship is done.
Coming into an organization is difficult for all new hires, but for interns, there are often many more challenges. Seasoned employees may find it pestering to be asked lots of questions about what makes up their everyday job, however having someone to show all the little things is very important to someone new.
I do not think there is a single person who wants to be the most mediocre they can, or where they can cut corners. I go into a workplace looking to learn anything that I could possibly see to be the most rounded employee possible. With internships, I search out who will teach me the most skills and let me practice and master them. I don’t want to be brought on to watch people do the things I could do with a bit of training, I want to participate, collaborate, and create.
Companies should embrace interns and use them to their full abilities: they can provide new ideas and bring in an outside perspective. The days of coffee-getting, observation-only interns should be over. The reason why our generation is portrayed as “lazy” is because we are often not given the opportunity to prove otherwise.
Logistically, we want to be paid. We have a life we need to support, and although “you need to pay your dues,” doesn’t mean we should not be provided monetary compensation. A lot of college students pay their own rent, school, gas, and everything in between. If we are giving you our best work, we should get paid for it. Yes, we are still learning, but we are giving you our time to make your company better.
A lot of internships are for a semester or the summer, which is great! We want to be able to experience as much as possible and work with a variety of companies. However, we would love to be invited back or asked to extend our internship. It does not have to be so rigid. We love flexibility, and we want companies to be that way too! Not everything has to go by the rule book. Have some fun with it and be creative. I think that is what Gen Z does best!