Intern Projects: Waiting for an Answer

It’s the forth week of my internship and although I’ve enjoyed my experience thus far my workload is beginning to slow down. Initially, the project managers had a list of potential personal projects for us interns to work on. Many were meaningful and impactful. I made quick strides in several projects, but soon met roadblocks out of my control- the majority of which were waiting for others to answer my emails or other requests, and now I feel like I must request busy work just to pass the time.

One of my projects involves implementing an additional approver to the company’s purchasing work flow. The temporary solution will be an electronic form and the permanent will be an automatic routing process in the purchasing portal. I get the impression that the process of implementing changes to any work processes, no matter how necessary, are purposely resisted and unnecessarily complicated. I don’t know if this is due to HJF’s intimate relationship with the government bureaucracy or is an inherent element of any large organization. This project has apparently been in the works since late last year and we’re being told that permanent implementation may not occur until as late as the next calendar year. This fundamentally frustrates me. Despite my comparatively limited computer science knowledge, I still feel like the projected completion time is absurd and volunteered to try to develop the software on my own, but when they found out I was only interning for a few more months, they dismissed the idea.

As the meaningful work dries up, I more and more often must decide between requesting busy work from my supervisors or staring at my dual monitor, listening to music or a podcast, and waiting for an answer on the projects I care about. For me, I enjoy constantly being in motion and having so much downtime has begun to sap at my motivation. I want to be able to complete a project with a tangible impact on the organization, but it seems more and more likely that I will be stuck in the middle. Stuck in another project meeting- on a treadmill of discussion instead of action- waiting for an answer.