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The Story of How I Got Fired From My Engineering Internship (SCRIPT)

The Story of How I Got Fired From My Engineering Internship (SCRIPT)
In 2009, I got an internship at a company called SoCal Gas, which is part of Sempra Energy a Fortune 500 company. My starting pay was $21.50 per hour which is a lot more than I ever earned in my life. And I thought wow I’m done for life, I’m going to stay at this company for the rest of my life and it’s going to be great. Before I started the internship, I knew work would be work, but I thought it would be decently fun. I was wrong

The internship was significantly worst than I thought.

  1. The work was tedious. Some of it was just plain data entry. A lot of it was filling out technical paperwork so we can deliver gas to new businesses. And I know a common objection I get when I say this is,  “Oh Matt, well you have to work your way up to get the more complicated work” and to counter that argument is that even thought I was just an intern, I knew what the senior engineers were doing because we all worked in the same office. And when I saw what they were doing, it was also tedious, but what they were doing had more consequences if there were errors.
  2. Large old companies have a strict corporate culture that doesn’t appeal to millennials. One example is that there’s a lot of tedious paperwork when I was working and my boss wouldn’t let me wear headphones to listen to music because she said it looks unprofessional. Which is ridiculous. Another example one time I was 5 minutes late one day and my boss yelled at me for being 5 min late, whereas a lot of younger companies give more flexibility of when employees have to come in because they know thing happen in the morning

 

And so because I hated it so much. I would show up late all the time, and sometimes I would show up several hours late. And I was given 2 warnings about it, and so after I finished a major project for the company, I was called into a meeting room. My boss was there and the human resources manager was there and I knew what was going to happen. She said I was being fired for my previous performance and for being late, but I asked, “but I haven’t been late or did anything wrong in the past 2 weeks so why am I being fired now. And she couldn’t give me a straight answer. I remember that drive home feeling so ashamed and guilty to tell my parents. And when I told my parents they gave me a lecture saying that I need to be an adult, and I should’ve taken my job more seriously, but at the same time, I felt a bit relieved that I could finally move on my with my life because that company is a trap. People can easily spend their whole careers there because the pay is good.

I looked up the laws about firing people and I found out based on how I was fired I could collect unemployment benefits. So I applied for unemployment benefits and got it. And the reason I was able to get employment benefits because when a company fires an employee that employee has to have a third strike and since I didn’t commit a third strike, I was able to collect unemployment benefits. Also since that was during the recession Obama extended unemployment benefits by 6 months so I was able to collect benefits for a year, and the amount I receive in benefits is based on my highest earning quarter and since I was a fulltime employee during the summer, what was I was getting for unemployment benefits was the same as if I was working 20 hours per week. What started off a tragedy ended up being a blessing because I was able to pay for my last year in college without having to work.

Being fired for the first time sucked, but I’m glad it happened. I wouldn’t be able to be working remotely here in the Philippines if I had stayed at that job.



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