Say This, Not That

Bored with Summer Internship

Dear Ilana and Jess: My teenage daughter just started her summer internship. So far, she’s feeling a little bit bored. She’s debating whether she should stick it out or change course and wants my two cents. How can I help her make a good decision? - Barry

Dear Barry: When we think about internships, we always want to consider the long-term. Boredom may be par for the course, or it may be a sign that the environment isn’t stimulating or challenging enough. It can be difficult to spot the difference.

With that said, this is a prime opportunity to teach your daughter about effective decision-making. One of the oldest tricks in the book is to make a pros and cons list. Rather than simply comparing what’s good and bad about the internship, though, remember that some aspects should be weighted more heavily than others. For example, a job that’s tedious in the short-term but offers incredible opportunity for growth may be well worth any temporary boredom. After your daughter makes her lists, have her underline the items on each that are of greatest long-term significance.

Managing expectations is an important part of making good decisions. Suggest that your daughter outlines, in specific terms, what she believes the internship should provide. Here are a few items that’d be on our list: opportunities for growth, networking opportunities, unique and competitive professional experiences, and opportunity for skills development. If your daughter hasn’t done so already, she should reach out to her boss and colleagues to ask how she can be most helpful in her role and what they’d like to see from her. This will make the pathway to employment or promotion a lot clearer.

One of the best ways for your daughter to do some information-gathering is to speak to people who have been in her shoes. Recommend that your daughter reach out to others who have interned at her site. If she’s a high school or college student, your daughter can reach out to her guidance counselor or the career center on campus. Speaking with the person who first told her about the internship, or recommended her for her position, would be a good place to start.

Say This: “It’s good that you’re voicing your concerns. I’d like to help you organize your thoughts so you can make a good decision. To begin, why don’t you make a list of expectations for your internship. Then, create a pros and cons list. Before you look at the pros and cons together, see how the pros align with your expectations and long-term goals.”

Not That: “I don’t know what you should do.”

Say This, Not That is based on the work of Cognition Builders: a global, educational company headed by Ilana Kukoff (Founder & CEO) and Jessica Yuppa Huddy (Chief Learning Officer). Everywhere from New York City to California to Shanghai to Zurich, the Cognition Builders team is called upon by A-list entertainers, politicians, CEOs, and CFOs to resolve the conflicts that upend everyday life. When their work is done, the families they serve are stronger than ever. With their new book, Say This, Not That To Your Teenage Daughter Kukoff and Yuppa Huddy have selected the most common conversational mistakes parents make, and fixed them. For more information, please visit: To purchase Say This, Not That To Your Teenage Daughter visit:


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