I wrote to you about whether or not to extend my internship back in April (from the “Should I Extend My Internship” post) and thought I could share with you an update. After much pondering about weighing the pros and cons of doing so, I decided to go ahead and extend my internship. Yes, same internship, same manager too. I am just about to wrap up my internship and as I reflect back on whether or not it was a good choice, I believe that it was. I took the advice you gave about working on long-term projects and it did help a lot. I was able to do several projects on my own without a whole lot of assistance from my manager.
The only thing that gave me second thoughts about it was that I did feel as if I stuck around for too long. It's almost been a year now with the extension. I know I will not get a job offer from this organization due to a lot of budget cutbacks. One other thing, I didn't really have much of a mentor-mentee relationship with my manager as I had before. There were a few things I wanted my manager/mentor's advice on about my career goals, but I guess I just didn't feel comfortable approaching my mentor for advice anymore or maybe it was just the lack of time issue.
But overall despite the time issue, I think my manager is still one of the greatest mentors I've had. I did get a thank you gift and letter. I also do plan on staying in touch. Any advice on saying goodbye or what would be good questions or topics to say for that "final conversation?"
Yes! This is a really great opportunity to get feedback that can help you develop professionally. I'd ask things like:
* Do you have thoughts on where I did especially well and what things I should focus on improving in? (If you don't get a real answer to the last part of this when you first ask it, reiterate that you truly want to know. Some people get more honest when you make it clear you're not going to be offended. If she still won't tell you, phrase it this way: "If you could wave a magic wand over my head and tweak something about my habits or skills or approach, what would it be?")
* What kind of role do you think I'd really excel in?
* Can you think of anyone in your network who might be good for me to connect with for future openings?
Also, tell her what you got out of the experience and why it was valuable to you. In particular, tell her what a great mentor she was, and why. People don't say this sort of thing enough -- often because they think the person is too important or advanced in their career to care -- but people generally love hearing it. Even important and prominent people love hearing it. Say it!
(And not only is it a nice thing to do -- which is reason enough -- but it will also likely make her more invested in your professional future, or at least more willing to help you if the opportunity arises. People like people who like them.)
Anyone else have suggestions?