The Fast and the Furious: Interns Strike

It’s been nearly a month since I started at Securian, and I’ve found that interning is essentially the equivalent of employment limbo. As an intern, no one’s quite sure what to do with you. Everyone knows you’re there to learn and get experience, but everyone also knows that you have an expiration date, and that you’re so eager to do something — anything — that they can give you even the most tedious and mundane tasks, and you’ll still take them with a smile and have them done in no time, still eagerly looking for things to do.

Just like this, but way less fabulous.

It may sound like they’re not giving me anything to do if I’m always looking for work, but that’s simply not true. When I haven’t been in training I’ve been given up to twelve different tasks or projects to work on at once. The problem seems to lie with time management. My supervisor will give me something to do, like update macros of two different folders
full of linked spreadsheets, and in the spec sheet with my instructions is a time estimate of six hours. Except an hour and ten minutes later I have everything updated, run, tested, retested, and sent out for review, and Supervisor doesn’t have anything else prepared for me to work on because a six hour project should take up most of my eight hour day. He emails the rest of the team who send back an assortment of work, anything from job ordering (data entry), to programming document forms in Lotus Notes — I’m the odd-job handyman of the IS Investments team.

Can we fix it? Only if properly caffeinated.

Once I reached a point in my training that actually allowed me to work on my intended projects, this issue continued. Supervisor sent me an enormous list of updates, repairs, and changes to make on a Lotus database that another department relies on to get their jobs done. I was supposed to start working on the changes on a Wednesday, meet with Supervisor and the manager of the other department on Friday to discuss progress and what was being implemented, and complete everything by the following Tuesday.

I sent everything in for review by Thursday morning, effectively moving the project ahead an entire week. The downside to this is the work I was supposed to be assigned to do after I completed my first round of assignments still isn’t ready for me to work on today, a week later, so I’m back on macro troubleshooting.

See? Sometimes infinite loops work out fine.

I swear I’m not bragging. I’m not telling you about how I knock out projects in a fraction of the allotted time to talk about what a stellar developer I am — I’m not fast, the time is just slow. They give me a ridiculous amount of time to complete a simple task, and the other interns are dealing with the exact same thing.

Honestly? I’m actually kind of grateful for it. It means that they’re willing to give us time to actually learn the how’s and the why’s behind what we’re doing, rather than just rushing us through to get as much done as possible in twelve weeks. Plus I just know that one of these days all this excess time is going to turn around and bite me.

Until that day, I’m going to enjoy my macros.

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