Burke E. Porter Machinery

Technical Writer Intern

May - August 2021 • Grand Rapids, MI

What I liked

Great pay for an internship, relatively easy work, my own private workspace with a provided computer and extra monitors, and a flexible schedule including the ability to work from home some days.

What I wish was different

Despite the name (Technical Writer Intern), the job was really not related to technical writing, so I wish I was able to get more experience in that field. I ended up doing Excel spreadsheet work 95% of the time which *was* briefly mentioned in the interview, but I thought there would be opportunities for actual technical writing work. There really wasn't. Also, a couple weeks into the job, my supervisor let my team know that it was "expected" that we work 50-hour weeks out of nowhere. The interview and job posting only mentioned "approximately 40 hours per week". Overtime pay is 1.5x the normal rate, so I did take advantage of the overtime opportunities on plenty of occasions, but it felt a bit abrupt to receive that message so soon after starting and still not being totally familiar with the work I was doing.


Make an effort to talk to the people in your department. There wasn't much in-person collaboration in my role; many days I wouldn't talk to anyone else for an entire 9-hour shift despite the office being full of people. This was a problem that only I faced though, as I was sat in an area of the office that was dedicated to a completely different team than the one I was working with, and I was younger than all of them by at least 10 years. Also, don't be afraid to ask questions. It took me a couple months and a LOT of questions to really get a good understanding of everything I was doing.
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