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Internship FAQs Explained EP2



  May 28, 2020

Thanks for those who supported our previous Internship FAQs compilation. Across the Raya holidays, we’ve received more questions. So, here comes the part-2! 



Q: My employer didn’t pay me according to what he promised during the internship offer. When I confronted him, he said he gave me opportunities to learn, I should appreciate and accept whatever given. I’m very frustrated. 


From your context, we hypothesized a few possible reasons for your employer’s action: 

  1. The allowance that he promised earlier was unrealistically high. 
  2. The company has to constrain its budget as a result of Covid-19 and lockdowns. 
  3. You are not required to attend work on a daily basis during the MCO, therefore he decided to reduce your pay. 


There may be more reasons, however, if your allowance was written in black and white, he should have discussed with you before giving you an involuntary pay cut. 


If the allowance that he promised was aligned with the usual amount others are getting, you should talk (or write an email) to him again for clarification. First, thank him for the learning opportunities given, make him understand you really appreciate the experiences. However, the purpose of the allowance is to help you cover your transportation and/or accommodation expenses while having your internship with the company. 


The key here is to listen out to the real problems and negotiate in a polite way. Let’s avoid making any assumption before proper communication. 


Bottom line, do not complain about this problem and scold your employer/company on the internet. If your complaints turned viral and affected the company’s image, it will hold the right to sue you for defamation. Try to settle the problem professionally and subtly, with the help from your university and local labour offices. 



Q: I applied for an internship with the marketing department. During the interview and offering stage, the manager said I would be involved in digital marketing tasks. However, two months passed, I was only assigned to do data entry work. 


We’ve received quite a number of similar questions like this and noticed this situation happens quite frequent. Like mentioned in the previous article, we recommend you to approach your seniors when they are less busy, take initiatives to offer help so that you can get involved in tasks that you want to join. 


For those who haven't started an internship yet, there’s a trick for you though. We highly recommend you to prepare a list of learning objectives set by your lecturers (make one if lecturers didn’t set anything for you) and show the list to your supervisor before your internship starts. This would send a clear message to the company that you and your school are serious about the internship and try to accommodate your needs. 



Q: There’s a colleague who always talks dirty jokes and ‘accidentally’ touched me several times. But everyone seems cool with him. I worried that I would get isolated if I complained to anyone. 


Any unwelcome sex jokes, sex conversations and unwanted touches are considered sexual harassments. Whether you plan to take any actions against the harassment or not, try to document/record these actions for just in case. Next, make it clear that you are uncomfortable with such acts. Tell verbally and non-verbally (text or email) that you are uncomfortable with his/her behaviours in particular, i.e. “That kind of conversation is inappropriate in the workplace. It makes me uncomfortable. It makes all the other women(or men) uncomfortable. Please stop doing it.”


If your clear rejections never stop the person’s behaviours, please reach out to your school counsellor and report the case(s) according to your company’s policy. 



Q: I was assigned to a senior to be his mentee. However, he never really guided me and only assigned me very simple tasks. I wish to learn more things and get myself familiar with the industry. 

We recommend the same trick in question #2, prepare a list of tasks or objectives that your school wants you to achieve (make one if the school never assigns anything), show it to the senior and make him sign upon completion of every task. If it doesn’t work, get your counsellor to visit you during working hours to “spot-check” whether are you learning what you should learn. 


Avoid being rude or bypass your mentor because these actions might jeopardise your future opportunities in the same industry. 



Hope these tips and tricks help you. If they don’t, continue to PM/email us for more support. We hope you have a smooth and fruitful internship experience. 


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