Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Engineering Would I be crazy to quit my Summer Engineering Internship?

  1. May 29, 2018 #1
    Let me provide some background here. I am an Electrical Engineering student and will be entering my Senior year this fall. I was lucky enough to secure a summer internship with a company for the duration of the summer.

    I am starting to realize that I may have not been so lucky. I am practically given 0 projects to work on and I find it hard to make a contribution here. The pay is great, but that factor makes me feel even more guilty for my lack of contribution. Some days I am forced to just spend the majority of my 8 and a half hour day just in my office staring.

    Its not that my boss doesn't care, he just doesn't have the time to really mentor me. It kills me to waste that many hours in a day not being productive. I come from a family of immigrants, and understand people have done worse jobs for a fraction of the money that I am making, but that does not make me feel any better about the time that I am wasting.

    I feel embarrassed attending morning meetings and being asked if I have any input and just replying "Sorry, nothing to add". The job is in a warehouse setting, and I always suggest to let me help by doing some of the warehouse/ manual labor type work. Whenever I suggest this my boss or higher ups will scoff as if that work is beneath me. Honestly, I agree that it is, but I would rather contribute in that form than make no contribution at all.

    The lack of productivity and contribution to the company is really starting to affect my self esteem. I passed up an opportunity to do summer research with a professor of mine for this job. I have been thinking maybe I should try to get out of this while I can, and still be a part of the research. It pays about half of what I make here, but I think I would rather learn something and be productive and get paid less, than be a statue in my office all summer.

    Would quitting my internship look bad? Do you think I should stick the internship out, or go for the summer research? I was also considering maybe trying to work at both locations part time to benefit from both opportunities.

    I would love to hear any opinions on my issue maybe from someone who had a similar experience. I apologize if I made any errors in posting this, this is my first post on PF, this issue has been troubling me for some time so I joined here to ask this question specifically. Thanks in advance for any replies !
    Last edited by a moderator: May 29, 2018
  2. jcsd
  3. May 29, 2018 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Welcome to the PF. :smile:

    That sounds like a reasonable compromise, and your current boss might understand your request to go to part time because of the great lab research opportunity. It would not be seen as "quitting" if you handle it right, IMO.
  4. May 29, 2018 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    This might seem a little off the wall at first, but you could turn your question around and instead ask how you can make the best of an opportunity where you have a lot of freedom to define your own work.

    It's difficult to recommend specifics without knowing the details of where you're working and what you were hired to do - at least on paper. But maybe you could start by brainstorming some project ideas of your own. Think about process engineering for example. Is there any way that you could improve some process that goes on where you work - make it safer or more efficient? Maybe you could start by gathering some statistics that they don't currently have available. Another idea might be to put together some kind of product review. Make a presentation. Look at current trends. Is your company keeping up? What could they be doing better?

    It's not easy figuring these things out and you have to be careful not to overstep your bounds. But this could very well be an opportunity staring you in the face.
  5. May 29, 2018 #4

    Dr Transport

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    if someone is willing to pay you well and not hit you with a long laundry list of projects, take the money and work on whatever you want that interests you. I have a summer student, he'll work with the group but I am not expecting earth shattering, ground breaking work out if him.
  6. Jun 19, 2018 #5
    That reminds me of a job I had before as a forest watchman where 99% of the time I had nothing to do. Just take your laptop, work on your own things, and get paid for that. However, if you think that there may be a more interesting opportunity, you should really make sure that you'd still get hired for it, so you don't end up without anything at all...
  7. Jun 26, 2018 #6


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    It may seem like a big world, but your reputation can propagate quite far.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?