They Called Me Unmotivated: Why I Was Unmotivated

By: Brittany Nguyen • @Brittanyween

“She did not appear to be motivated to succeed at this position" That’s what I received from my internship evaluation.

Anybody who knows me would say, “Are you serious?” 

When I received this comment, I wasn’t overly surprised. It’s funny because my immediate reaction was: 

“Because most days there was no work given to me, I felt under-challenged, and most of the time I was sitting on my butt looking to do something.” 

Honestly, there was nothing remotely motivating or stimulating about the work I was doing. When I started, I would ask if there was any work for me to do. But day after day, the same answer occurred; “no.” So I sat on my butt reviewing company work or twiddling my thumbs. After the second day of my internship, my gut told me I wasn’t going to get the experience I wanted. I felt it on the first day that the pace wasn’t what I wanted, everything to me felt too slow.

Why did you hire an intern if there’s no work that they can do? Let’s dive into my daily task load. I got groceries, lunch, looked for locations, searched for images, uploaded videos, cleaned the office, and assisted on film shoots. There’s nothing more to dive into, that was it. 

It might seem like I was doing a lot but those tasks took about 20 minutes each to do and I was only doing two out of those 6 tasks each day. Everything was safe. I wasn’t doing anything that could remotely set me up to fail. There was nothing that put my talents to the test or made me think critically. I was actually happy that they asked me to get lunch because it meant I could get off my butt and do something. After the first week, my first thought was, “damn, is the real world this boring?!”

I need challenges thrown at me. Without pressure, I get bored and uninterested. I’d much rather have a grueling, demanding internship where I’m working beyond my eight hours than a “nice learning experience.” 

My future career will not be sitting at a desk writing someone else’s emails. I realized that I can’t do the 9-5, 10-6, 8-hour work day life. To keep myself motivated, I need side projects to work on. Things that excite me, that force me out of my comfort zone, challenge my creativity and force me to grow as a creator. 

Another interesting piece of feedback I received was that I was constantly, “distracted by other tasks.” 

Time is important to me. There was a lot of wasted time, and waiting around. If you take into account that I was told there was nothing to do but sit on my ass, I figured I might as well make use of my time by working on my own entrepreneurial venture because there is nothing for me to do. To future employers, millennials aren’t lazy – they are under challenged. I didn’t get what I wanted out of my internship experience. Yes, there are a few things I learned here and there, but I wasn’t growing at the rate I wanted to. My number one internship lesson? What I don’t want to do in the future. Perhaps, this experience was needed. It solidified that my current pathway is the right one.