I am currently working as a temporary student intern at an automotive company's part depot doing jobs for the customer service department there, including updating processes and creating a new employee training manual (my main tasks), along with other small jobs that are assigned to me. Its a 4 month term and I have about 2 months left
Now to be clear, a lot of these jobs end up falling into one of the two categories right off the bat:
- The job needs to be put on hold because of something outside of my control (waiting for data from another person, person who I am getting information from goes on vacation, etc.)
- Most of the work is manual data entry, which I can do relatively quickly.
I also learned how to use their system very quickly which enabled me to write the user guide very quickly, so I am well ahead on that.
Because of this I have a lot of "free" time compared to the rest of the customer service staff, as they are very busy with training another new rep. I don't sit around doing nothing however. I try to keep myself busy by doing work related things like:
- Sitting with the new rep and helping them if needed.
- Editing the training manual to look better.
- Bringing my write ups of the current process to the various reps so they can look at it and suggest improvements.
Lately I have noticed one of the reps complaining to another that I do no work and shouldn't even be here. I brushed it off but these comments started becoming more and more direct, as in the most recent encounter they told mockingly mentioned to another coworker that "my work wasn't real work" and that I shouldn't be paid at all. I was within about 10 feet and they knew I was there so I think it was intentional.
I fear that others might start to resent me for how little perceived work I am doing and create tension while I am around. I am supposed to be compiling information from them, but I am worried that they will stop giving me all of the info, or purposely leaving some parts out. I might be over reacting but I want to nip this problem in the bud before it could even get to that point.
How can I de-escalate this situation in the most respectful and professional way possible?