What do I include in the initial internship duties conversation?
1. TERM OF EMPLOYMENT: Avoid misunderstanding by clearly stating which day you will begin and also which day you will end. Ideally, you should begin your internship on or after August 31, 2015 and end on or before Thursday, December 10, 2015.
2. HOURS: Get the office list of hours you are expected to work each week. Be sure to include “overtime” or “special events.” We are asking you to work 18-24 internship hours per-week to be arranged in coordination with your employer with the understanding that you are required to be in class on time for your evening classes. Traffic, travel time, and dinner should also be factored into this equation. Employers should also know that a one-time special event that presents unique academic circumstances could be accommodated, however consistent requests to stay late and miss class are not allowed or acceptable.
3. COMPANY CULTURE: Since you are completing the internship for college credit, it is not expected that you will receive a stipend for your work. However, companies should offer reimbursement for out of pocket expenses related to the job or a gas stipend for running errands with your personal vehicle. This is a conversation you need to have before you begin. I.E. Will you be asked to run errands? Will you be compensated for gas/mileage? It is possible that some companies will provide an occasional lunch or snack but it is not to be expected. Be mindful of the dress code within your company. Do not assume that jeans and t-shirts are acceptable. Flip flops are never acceptable. Some companies may require business casual attire while others do allow for jeans with a blouse/polo shirt. You will become acquainted with your company’s culture within the first week or two of work.
4. WORK ASSIGNMENT: When you first meet with your direct supervisors at your internship, please have a conversation about their expectations, their needs, as well as your interests and your expectations. Please make it clear that you understand that there will be a certain percentage of entry level, task oriented duties.You also understand that even these kinds of tasks have challenges and are a vital part of your education. This would be the best time to complete the required site proposal form with your supervisor.
5. ILLNESS / FALL BREAK / TIME OFF: Make sure you know who to contact in the event of illness and absence and the method of contact preferred. Do not assume a text or email is acceptable. If you are not planning to remain in LA and work at your internship over the Fall Break / Thanksgiving holiday, be sure to give your host company notice well in advance.